When is a Leaf not a Leaf?

There really are many answers to this in the world of botany.

In this case I am referring to the puzzling plant, Epiphyllum oxypetalum.

This leggy plant sprawls as it grows. It is in a heavy pot for balance not for root room.

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Mine has not bloomed yet, but I am enjoying its peculiar habit of growth.

When is a leaf NOT a leaf?  When it’s a stem.

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The orchid cactus has flattened stems that look like leaves with thick veins.

When new leaves pop out from the ends of these veins,

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you realize that the leaf was a stem.

Epiphytes that live in trees have different rules than ground plants.

A stem has to serve as a leaf and a stem.

Another lesson in life from a plant.

Thanks nature.

Flow

Hang these Weirdos

Epiphytes get their name from living on other plants.

This does not mean that they are parasites, just that they share space with larger plants for support.

They have long succulent leaves that are heavy.  These have strange shapes that may vary on the same plant.

I have several Epiphyllums.

Since they normally live in the semishade of trees in Mexico,

I hang them in trees so that they will feel at home.

Both of these Epiphyllums were obtained as pieces, not whole plants.

I asked to buy cuttings from two of my favorite garden centers.

No point in my buying a giant plant when a piece will do.

I know that this orchid cactus will bloom red.  It has not as of yet, but its parent plant had red blooms.

These Epiphyllums bloom during fall or winter, so I hope to see a bloom soon.

This fishbone/zigzag cactus should have white or yellow blooms.

Its blooms are nocturnal.  I will be watching both these plants in the coming weeks for signs of buds.

If you get an Epiphyllum, you had best hang it up.

They love to swing in the breeze from the trees.

FLOWER

 

My First Love was Leaves

I have not always been the FLOWER.

My first love was leaves.   I collected leaves.  Pressed leaves into pictures.  Made stationery with embedded leaves…

In my home there are leaves on the rugs and floor clothes and walls and sofas…

So today I want to share an unusual leaf.

I have been watching this plant grow for months.

It was a gift from ” My Friend the Fairy.”  (See post. She is adorable)

The plant is a “Queen of the Night” , “Night Blooming Cereus” or Epiphyllum oxypetallum.

Its nickname is also Gooseneck cactus.   Now I know why.  One leaf decided it needed to be longer.  So it added another lobe on the tip.

This stem and leaf first looked like a rising cobra’s head several months ago.

It elongated and has now sprouted side leaflets.

The leaves are very thick and the venation is visually absent,

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except for the midrib seen underneath.

The midrib sends vein offshoots to each leaflet.

The underside of the main leaf has rootlets which is typical of an epiphyte.

Lastly, I would like to include a photo that those who know me will appreciate.

Photo shoot carnage.  Positioning leaves lead to a spill.  Another mess.  I wonder what punishment will be bestowed upon me by my facedown fairy godmother. She’s mean.

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The Queen only blooms once every couple of years, so I will enjoy its leaves in the meantime.

FLOWER