Thursday, May 1, 2014

An Excursion Into Genetics - Lithops marmorata x julii

I never studied genetics in school, so it's about time I did some experimenting on my own (again).

On October 22, 2013 I had a couple of flowering Lithops julii and marmorata and since my very first experiment with cross pollinating Lithops went so well (see posts on Lithops julii x marmorata), I am now trying it the other way around: a marmorata mother and a julii father.

I have documented it very thoroughly this time, to be able to see exactly what mother and father looked like once the children have grown up. I even documented the pollination (which pollen onto which plant) on the sides of my pots so I'll be able to recollect it precisely (... OCD much? ;)).

My julii x marmorata are just now starting to show definite signs of their mother's julii genes (see http://plant-whisperer.blogspot.de/2014/04/lithops-julii-x-marmorata-take-after.html). So, a marmorata x julii cross might look the same (if the julii gene is dominant).

The interesting part then happens when these two next generation Lithops are cross pollinated again. Because, according to Mendel that's when the recessive genes can show up again.

So, what I have to do now is:
  • sow these seeds (next year) and document it,
  • wait until the seedlings are old enough to see their markings (another two years), that's the first interesting point,
  • wait until one of each plant is flowering (another two to five or more years),
  • cross pollinate,
  • harvest the seeds (another year),
  • sow them and wait what THOSE seedlings will look like (another two to three years).

Sounds like I have found something to keep myself occupied with for the next decade or two. ;)

But now, here are the documentation pictures:

Papa julii 1:


Mama marmorata 2:


Mama marmorata 3:


Mama marmorata 4:



Mama marmorata 2: opening the seed capsule and harvesting the seeds






Mama marmorata 3: opening the seed capsule and harvesting the seeds






Mama marmorata 4: opening the seed capsule and harvesting the seeds



Grouchy Lophophora Williamsii

Ever since I moved my little Lophophoras into the sun on the east facing window sill, they have grown well. They are still pretty small - and probably smaller than they should be at their age, but they look well.
They are now four years old and the biggest one is 2cm in diameter.

What I love about them at the moment, though, is that they look so very grouchy.


Lophophora williamsii on April 27, 2014


Lophophora williamsii on April 27, 2014

General Lithops Health Inspection

Here's a general update on some of my Lithops.
I took these photos mainly because many people in our plant forum asked for updates on Lithops shedding their skin... and because I haven't taken pics of my Lithops in a very long time.

So, here they are:

Lithops dinteri
My little dinteri is particularly lovely this year because of its red spots. This is what it's supposed to look like when it's older: http://www.lithops.info/de/galerie/lithops_c180.html. Not too far off anymore.

Lithops dinteri ssp. frederici C180 on April 27, 2014

Lithops dorotheae
Some Lithops, when "shedding their skin", develop pockets of air under the old skin when the water inside dries and the skin is left loose.
My dorotheae do this (but only these strangely white ones - the others just dry up normally), as well as some of the julii and marmorata. Other Lithops don't do this, their skin just dries up. It's very interesting to watch as there can be a lot of air in such bubbles and the skin can be stretched tight at certain points.

Lithops dorotheae with pockets of air under their old skin on April 27, 2014


Lithops dorotheae on April 27, 2014

My dorotheae were sown from seeds but the seeds weren't produced under controlled circumstances. So there is no telling which pollen got onto the flowers of the dorotheae that produced theses seeds.
Some of my dorotheae look exactly the way they're supposed to (the ones in the pic above) and others don't (the first dorotheae pic and the one below).
I think it's far more likely that this Lithops has a major part of marmorata dna, than that it's an albino dorotheae, because there are no other dorotheae typical markings here. But my pale dorotheae shows some striking resemblance to this marmorata http://www.lithops.info/de/galerie/lithops_c251.html... don't you think?

Lithops dorotheae on April 27, 2014

Lithops gracilidelineata

Lithops gracilidelineata on April 27, 2014

Lithops olivacea var. nebrownii
One of my Cole originals with a number: C162B. A cultivar with distinct reddish surface. They're still tiny, but they're already reddish.

Lithops olivacea var. nebrownii C162b on April 27, 2014


Lithops olivacea var. nebrownii C162b on April 27, 2014

Lithops pseudotruncatella
The "edithae" (it's probably "Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. pseudotruncatella v. riehmerae (syn. edithiae)") seeds came from the same dealer as my dorotheae so again there is no telling whether it actually looks like the original or not. This also explains the slight difference in naming. I don't really want to label it edithiea (or with its even more complicated correct name) because I can't be sure that this is actually the one.

Lithops pseudotruncatella var. edithae on April 27, 2014

In general, I have to admit, I think pseudotruncatella are among the ugliest Lithops. I only have the edithaes because the seeds were part of a collection of Lithops seeds at the very beginning of my plant days and back then I was still fascinated by anything called Lithops.
By now I have become a bit more picky and the only two beautiful pseudotruncatellas (in my humble opinion) are the groendrayensis.
I tried growing C239, but all seedlings died. With the C244 I was a bit more lucky, but these are still the only two I have left.

Lithops pseudotruncatella var. groendrayensis C244 on April 27, 2014

Lithops salicola
The salicola is among the few Lithops I have bought as a plant (it's one plant with two heads) and not grown from seeds.
Just now I was fascinated by the way it lets its old skin dry up. It looks as if the heads have pulled back into their feather pillows and aren't quite ready yet to get up and go to school.

Lithops salicola C86 on April 27, 2014

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Lithops julii x marmorata Take After Their Mother

Now that I have moved my Lithops julii x marmorata seedlings into the sun on the east facing window sill, they are finally starting to show their real faces.


Lithops julii x marmorata on April 27, 2014

Even though their father was a Lithops marmorata, these little ones clearly look like Lithops julii.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Adenium Goes "Spring" Again

My adenium obesum has started to grow flower buds again.

Yes, yes, I know. We've been through this before. It grows several buds and then throws off all but one or two of them.


Adenium obesum flower buds on March 14, 2014

But still, you have to admit that this is not "a flower"... this is more like a whole flower bouquet!


Adenium obesum flower buds on March 14, 2014

AND this is the first spring my adenium spends in the Lechuza pot - a pot where the plant can take as much water as it needs from the reservoir at the bottom. Plus there is still some long term fertilizer in the soil, both of which is supposed to be very good for adeniums.

So... here's to hope!


Adenium obesum flower buds on March 14, 2014

Friday, October 25, 2013

My First Pleiospilos Flower?

One of the first plants I have ever sown (in 2007) was a Pleiospilos nelii. Well, actually there were several nelii but I kept only two of them (as far as I remember now - there might be more hidden somewhere on my window sills).

Every year when they start to grow new leaves I hope that it's going to be a flower but each time it's "just" leaves.

This time I'm hoping again, but this time I think I have better chances. Just as it is with Lithops, you can see a slight difference between a new pair of leaves - which takes up almost all of the plant's width - and a flower bud. The latter looks like the tip of a little tongue the plant is squeezing through the fissure in the leaves.
And that is exactly what (I hope) I'm seeing here.

What do you think?


Close-up of Pleiospilos nelii fissure on October 25, 2013


Close-up of Pleiospilos nelii fissure on October 25, 2013


Pleiospilos nelii developing what looks like a flower bud (on October 25, 2013)


Edit (Dec 3, 2013):
No, it's just another pair of leaves again... Maybe better luck next time! ;)

Yellow Faucaria Beauties

My Faucaria tigrina is flowering again, and whether the flowers are open, or closed... this is one beautiful plant.


Closed Faucaria tigrina flower on October 25, 2013


Closed Faucaria tigrina flower on October 25, 2013


Closed Faucaria tigrina flower on October 25, 2013


Closed Faucaria tigrina flower on October 25, 2013


Closed Faucaria tigrina flower on October 25, 2013

(Yes, this is the same flower! The pink tips are on the outside of the flowers petals and it seems to depend a lot on the angle at which you're looking at them whether they seem this pink or not.)


Faucaria tigrina flower on October 22, 2013


Faucaria tigrina flower on October 22, 2013


Faucaria tigrina flower on October 22, 2013


Faucaria tigrina flower on October 22, 2013

(Btw, these are all iPhone photos taken with the Olloclip macro clip-on lense.)