Can We ID a Plant?

Yes we can!

First, we have the preliminaries:


My name is Liz and I had been looking on your site for awhile to find out the type of wonderful cactus that I have. I have had this cactus for a long time but never knew what type it was. I have looked into books and browsed around I have seen many that look similar but can not pin point it. I was wondering if I could email you a picture and you could help me identify it?

Thank you,

Hello Liz,

We would be happy to try and ID your plant, email a photo or two and we will do our best.


Now we have the main event:

Good Afternoon Hap,

Thank you for taking the time to do this for me! Here I sent a couple of pics!

New Image2 New Image1

And finally, the ID:

Hello again Liz,

It looks like you have a nice Echinopsis aurea or commonly known as “Golden Easter Lily Cactus”. Native to Northern Argentina. It can be a bit rot prone so watch so be careful not to over-water and next time you repot I would suggest a chunkier cactus blend that is mostly 1/4″ lava or pumice, since these guys will often turn to mush if they stay too wet.

Take care,


More Hot Lips

Yesterday I posted a pathetic and sad photo I took with my cell phone.

From one of our customers, Andrea, here’s a much better picture of a Salvia microphylla “Hot Lips”.


With bonus cat, Calli.

Thriving Pencil Tree

Gail sends along this photo of a Euphorbia tirucalli that is thriving in their Emeryville loft that they got from us last year. It looks like its doubled in size – happy Euphorbia!


We Get Orchid Questions

Apparently we’re not the only ones to get this question; the email was also sent to Berkeley Hort, Magic Gardens and Westbrae. I hope we gave the best answer.


I recieved a plant with flowers that look like the picture attached to this email. I don’t know the plant’s name so I am not sure how to care for it. I was told it was a dancing orchid but most the care sheets I found online for dancing don’t look remotely like the flowers in the attached picture. Do you know the name of the plant in the attached photo? Most of the flowers along its long stem are dying now, should I be cutting the stems?? Could you maybe direct me to a website with information on how to care for the plant in the attached photo?




You orchid is a Brassia, or commonly known as a “spider orchid”.

Brassia pretty much just takes standard orchid care… here is a link with specific information.

You can trim off the spent bloom-spike after it dries out, but don’t cut it off until then as they can occasionally re-bloom from the same spike if they are really happy.

Take care,

Aeonium Problem


Several years ago, I purchased the succulents in the attached photos from you, and they’ve done beautifully. These plants are on the patio in the full sun – and cold temperatures.  They flank patio steps – one on each side. This past winter, one survived and is doing well, and the other looks terrible, yet has new growth at the base and a bloom and some new growth emerging from what appears to be dead stalks.  Here are photo descriptions:


IMG_483 = Healthy Planting


IMG_485 =Nearly all dead (freeze) Planting. Note new growth and Blossom

My questions are:

  • Given the new growth, should I do any trimming back of dead growth or just allow the new growth to continue?  I feel no trimming will leave it leggy and very different from the other one in appearance, size, etc.
  • What is this plant’s name?
  • Is it still correct to cut the stalky blooms once they’ve been around a while?
  • Thank you!

    Lynn S.

    First, what a lovely and happy Aeonium c.v. “Whippet” you have in the first photo.

    OK, on to the 2nd plant. Aeoniums can be frost sensitive, and we had a hard freeze this past winter, so it looks like it took damage then. The good news is that the plant is still alive, and has already started growing out of the damage. However, the rest of the plant is dead, and can be trimmed back whenever you’d like, now that spring has arrived. After all the cut branches have healed over, you may want to replant it into a smaller pot for it to grow back.

    If you’re unsure about how much to cut, you can always bring it in to the nursery and we can trim it back for you.


    Succulent ID

    We loved visiting your nursery last month, one of our favorite stops in Berkeley. I am from the St.Louis area and have a nursery here. Can you identify the succulent in the photo for me? I am having trouble finding a name. A lot of our stuff from San Diego comes in without i.d. tags.


    Many thanks for your help!
    Chris Kelley

    You have a very healthy Pachyphytum oviferum, also known as Moonglow. Make sure the plant is not overwatered in the teacup, which I assume has no drainage.

    Hope your spring is going well; we’ve had a relapse of winter this weekend 🙁

    More From Dan in La Quinta Cove

    It’s a cactus wildflower photo – my g-d that’s a vibrant pink.

    hike 3-29-10 026

    Opuntia basilaris – It’s a beavertail cactus with lot’s of subspecies. Anyone want to guess at a subspecies? I have Anderson’s “The Cactus Family” here and I prefer not to make any guesses. However, we do find out that the stems of this plant were used by the Shoshoni for medicinal purposes, “The Shoshoni make a poultice from the inner part of the stem and apply it to cuts and wounds for pain.”

    We have found this to be a very difficult species to grow in the Bay Area – too much rain, even with our very fast draining soil mix. So we keep them indoor, and then they only rot out every 2 to 3 years.

    Happy Cactus

    I bought this as a little plant from you guys two years ago an it’s grown an insane amount! What is this? I’m so curious about it.

    photo-33 photo-34


    Wow! That’s a very happy Opuntia (Austrocylindropuntia) subulata monstrose. Really a beautiful specimen. It probably has another year before it needs to be pruned back in that pot.

    Wildflower and Cactus Blooms III

    We finish up this series of photos sent to us by Dan with desert wildflowers from the La Quinta Cove near Palm Springs. However, I refuse to ID them for you. I do all the hard work around here, maybe you could contribute your fair share today?


    OK, that was harsh of me. One of them is an Indigo Bush. I just won’t tell you which one. That seems more fair of me.

    hike 3-24-10 045

    hike 3-24-10 020

    Alright, I give up, you win. From what I can see in the picture, the other one looks like a Desert Lupine. I won’t guarantee this though.

    Wildflower and Cactus Blooms II

    Part 2 of Dan’s photos of Desert flowers in bloom at La Quinta Cove near Palm Springs.

    I see now we have some cactus flowers in bloom. That is nice.

    hike 3-24-10 023

    hike 3-24-10 029

    I could ID these for you, but then what fun would that be? I think you should be IDing them for me.

    Tomorrow we finish up with a few more wildflower blooms.

    Wildflower and Cactus Blooms I

    From reader Dan, we have these amazing wildflower shots in the desert near Palm Springs, at a place called La Quinta Cove. First we have the overview shots.

    hike 3-24-10 041

    hike 3-24-10 035

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    More of these great shots tomorrow.

    Oh, all right, one more now.

    hike 3-24-10 015

    Naked Buds

    From customer Juergen, we get this great closeup shot of some naked and very slender buds on what he is identifying as a Cereus spegazinii.



    Jungle Cactus in Red


    Photo: Lepismium cruciforme in a potted design by R.C. Cohen of Newport Beach. Credit: Debra Lee Baldwin

    Barfalicious sent us a link to this photo on the LATimes blogs, and it’s from an article by Debra Lee Baldwin, our favorite succulent container gardening author!

    Updated Crest

    A photo from Charlotte of her crested Euphorbia lactea that has lost leaves.


    I see it still has 2 additional leaves. Yay! And updating the post below, she has drilled a hole in the bottom of the pot so that the plant is no longer sitting in soggy soil. Also a Yay!


    ds adjusted

    From Mary in Walnut Creek, we have a Cymbidium that bloomed last year, but not yet this year. Let’s all hope for the best.

    Reader Photos – ID and Help, too

    I have attached 4 pictures, the same ones I have on my blog.
    The two rounder ones are doing fine but the other two seem to not like the cold so much. They shriveled and turned yellow. That’s bad right?

    Cactus 1 Cactus 2 Cactus 3 Cactus 4



    Your Echinopsis chamaecereus look fine for this time of year (#1 & #2). The Cereus hildmannianus monstrose (Fairy Castles) (#3) is showing frost/freeze damage, being a “miniature mutant” it is less tollerant of cold, wet weather than the true species is. Try and keep it dry for the rest of the winter and hopefully it will grow out of the damage in the spring. But watch for rot, as it may more damaged than it looks in the photo. The Hylocereus (#4) is a tropical jungle cactus and will not usually survive heavy frosts or freezes. It really is a houseplant that needs to be treated more like an orchid than a cactus. Try moving to a warm spot and keeping it dry for a month and see it it comes out of it, all though I have to say from the photo, I think it might be too damaged and is on it’s way to being black slime.

    Take care and good luck,


    Agave ID

    Hi again…. Is this a colorata? They only grow about this big as adults, these were pups from the mother plant…. Jay



    That looks like it is a lovely pile of Agave parryi v. truncata! Agave colorata is similar but a bit more toothy and mean…


    Reader Photos

    Here is the plant given to me by Harriet.

    Can you tell us what it is and how to care for it?


    plant 001-1

    Yes, my Dad sends me succulent questions. He’s in Florida, and has killed every plant we’ve given him, including most recently a Tillandsia bulbosa. We’ll see how long this one lasts.

    You have a Kalanchoe thyrsfolia variegata. Water every 2 weeks, by drenching the soil and letting it drain away – never have it sit in water.

    It is a good indoor plant and doesn’t require too much sun, but it does need some – a bright area, or some direct morning sun is best.

    Holiday Cactus

    From seed vendor Jaromír Dohnalík in the Czech Republic comes a blooming cactus photo for the holidays.


    A cactus formerly known as Lobivia, and now more correctly called Echinopsis. I haven’t bothered to look up the species – any suggestions?

    Reader Photos

    It’s a cactus bowl, from JT.

    I see a Euphorbia obesa in there too, so I hope JT is being careful to water the cactus parts of the bowl, and less water near the Euph.


    I hope that scorpion is not real…

    Here’s another one too.


    Lots of lower water plants in there.

    Random Photo

    This photo is labelled “1972”. I don’t know why.


    I don’t know where it came from or what it is doing here at all. If it is yours and would like to claim copyright, email me at

    That was a little harsh of me.


    From Aunt Rachel in Arizona is a giant Saguaro and some Jumping Cholla.


    Carnegiea gigantea and Opuntia bigelovi



    Agave titonata

    Photo by Joy Jennings.

    I love this very aggressive succulent, but they hang around the nursery and almost never sell. I wonder why? They’re beautiful, as this stunning photo from Joy Jennings demonstrates quite amazingly.

    Backyard Cactus

    Dani sends along this photo of a backyard bamboo grove, where she’s working for the day. Is that a Euphorbia ammak I see over on the left?



    April 2020
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    We Get Questions

    Email your questions to:

    blog [at] cactusjungle [dot] com