Hello Friends and Family,

UCSC Arboretum, Part 5

Link to this year's index by clicking here.

I encountered a bit of a surprise on the last little part of my walkabout at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum — plants that I would not associate with a Mediterranean climate. They look to me to be more at home in a desert. They will indeed grow in California (otherwise they would not have survived here at the western base of the Santa Cruz Mountains) but I think of them as more Arizonan. But what do I know after a long career in computers and a retirement career in photography.

Unfortunately, most of these plants did not have the small signs telling me the variety. Doing my own online search suggests that this is an Agave plant. Please let me know if you disagree. Do watch out for those barbs on the edge of the leaves — they look nasty!

Here is what appears to be another agave plant with bluish-green leaves. Some online postings suggest this is a variety of Blue Agave but not the variety used to make tequila (that variety has long spiky leaves). I hope they're correct.

This appears to be a variety of Aeonium, most varieties of which are native to the Canary Islands. They are very popular in horticulture.

The next plant appears to be another variety of Aloe, perhaps Aloe aristata (Torch Plant or Lace Aloe).

Here is another variety of Aloe — although I could not determine the exact species.

Ah, this plant I know, having seen them at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. It is an Old Man Cactus (Cephalocereus senilis). It gets its name from the "white hair" which are, in fact, modified spines which hide the formidable sharp yellow central spines that contrast with the inoffensive appearance of the hairy covering.

This show plant is the deltoid-leaved dew plant (Oscularia deltoides) which is a succulent native to South Africa. According to Wikipedia, the flowers sprout in spring, dispersing an almond scent. I did not smell any such aroma so it must have been past their peak.

This very attractive little plant is the Jelly Bean Plant (Sedum rubrotinctum) which is a succulent native to Mexico.

Here we have a small cactus plant with one brilliant blooming flower, one flower past its prime and one stalk with no flowers. The blooming flower is incredible.

Back to the Outback — another Bottlebrush, this one is called Cane's hybrid (Callistemon 'Cane's Hybrid') with pink flowers.

Here's a nice closeup of an Orange Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos 'Regal Claw') — way cool.

We end our visit to the arboretum with a Heath-leaved Banksia AKA Lantern Banksia or Heath Banksia (Banksia ericifolia).

I hope that those of you living in the Bay Area plus anyone visiting the Bay Area will take a visit to the Arboretum — preferably in the late spring and early summer when the flowers are at their peak. If you enjoy beautiful and exotic flowers, you will be richly rewarded.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com