Thursday, November 12, 2009

Berkeley Botanical Gardens, Part 2

Part of my continuing series on our October trip to California… The day we visited the gardens was the day after a huge storm swept through the area. We were so lucky! The sky cleared and it was a beautiful day, due to the rainfall everything smelled so fresh and wonderful. It was just perfect. Evidently it was a perfect day for the areas termite population too, as they were out in mass and, well, mating. It was remarkable. We noticed them “in pairs” on the rocks and pavers and small swarms in the air. Several landed on us, most of the time leaving their wings behind, stuck to our clothing. I did a little research and found this online: “The big event of the year is of course the mating flight of reproductives, which seems to happen simultaneously for all members of a species in an area. Immediately after the flight is over, they break off their wings and then proceed in bonded pairs to dig out their first subterranean home.” Freaky.
Starting up roughly where I left off yesterday…

Love this name! Pingo-Pingo Ephedra andina…the 'Pingo’ is the ground cover-ish plant in the back ground. Unfortunately I am not sure what the dramatic plant in the foreground is, no label.
Euphorbia broussonetii from the Canary Islands Puya and their dying blooms. Puya are part of the Bromeliaceae family, along with Dyckia, Vriesea, Tillandsia, Hechtia, and others. Sea-urchin Cactus Echinopsis chiloensis Erythrina falcate, we wondered if the holes were part of the tree or some sort of insect damage. They seemed far to patterned. I found someone online who attributed them to Woodpeckers. Erica longifolia or Long-Leaved Heath
Cussonia paniculata
Cussonia spicata from SW Africa
Cussonia spicata again, these are dormant terminal growth buds. Aloe mitriformis - Purple Crown from South Africa Aloe spiral close up (sexy!) Aloe rivae, from Ethiopia
Aloe rivae close up There were so many lizards! SF Botanical Gardens were alive with squirrels, Berkeley Botanical Gardens were alive with lizards, and they were just as tame as the squirrels!
Okay this is it, my new favorite must have aloe...Aloe capitata var. quartziticola. Look at this aloe! I almost considered ripping one out of the ground and just running for the car. Isn’t it HOT!? If I had any idea how completely unavailable it would be online (I’ve since looked and looked…) I might have just done it.
Close up…(beautiful!) Aloe plicatilis Fan Aloe
Agave parryi var. huachucensis, from Arizona, so dramatic! I had to include another picture All the label said was ‘Agave sp. Mexico’ Another photo, isn’t it beautiful? I want to know what it is! Love the angles on this (also unknown) agaveAgave ovatifolia from Mexico
Don’t they look like they're lined up and gossiping?
Cyphostemma juttae from. South Africa There was an Agave that had bloomed and was dying, I love that they left it in place so people could see the stages of death Pachypodium lamerei in the greenhouse
Agave Americana ‘Mediopicta Alba’ ? Outside the greenhouse and near the ‘sales area' (yes there is a sales area!) in the entry plaza...If I lived in the area I would be there every week to see what was for sale. As it was there was nothing available during our visit that temped me. I did enjoy seeing these Yucca Blueboy, they reminded me of the Yucca A. Purpurea that I bought in Washington at Tsugawa. Perhaps I need to get a couple more!
Well, that's the end of this tour of the Berkeley Botanical Gardens. I whole-heartedly recommend a visit if you are in the area, I cannot imagine that you would be disappointed.


  1. DG~~ Talk about symbiosis: the lizards were probably feasting on the termites. Very cool plants. I was wondering if the foreground plant in the second photo is a cycad or fern or? Very nice form, whatever it is. I would have been tempted to yank it up too. You'll just have to make another trip.

  2. I have to admit a few months ago I stumbled over here and was like "eh, pointy plants" and feel like I didn't give your WONDERFUL blog the chance it deserved! I adore each post and just wanted to let you know that I now like pointy plants also, very much thanks to you. :D Keep up the good work.

  3. Wait. There was a place where I could see lizards. I've done everything in life wrong.

  4. I LIKE that aloe spiral! And the Agave ovatifolia, too. That Pachypodium lamerei - how big was that thing? It looks enormous! I'm happy the lizards came out to play for you!

  5. Hi, I'm so glad I found your blog - it's great!

    The first 'Agave sp. from Mexico' is Agave mitis var. albidior. Used to be called Agave celsii var. albicans...

    Not sure about the second one.


  6. DG-
    Looks like a wonderful time! Your photos are beautiful. So much inspiration comes from visiting public gardens. I just love the Aloe spiral...

  7. Grace, I believe the plant you ask about is a Dioon spinulosum but I am not sure, unfortunately I didn't see a tag for that one. It's a Cycad with "fern like leaves.

    Katie, Thank you! I am so happy that you've came over to the spiky side of things!

    Megan, I am sure they'll be there for you, when you visit...which you must do.

    Jane, the Pachypodium lamerei wasn't all that big. It's kind of a deceiving camera angle, not on purpose! It was setting on a table, I'd say about 2.5 - 3 ft tall.

    Rob, I'm happy too b/c you identified one of my new fav agaves! Thank you!

    Lisa, thank you! I agree about the inspiration...and to think the Huntington Gardens and Lotusland were still yet to come for me on this much to see!


    That is my scream of envy and wonder!!!

    Okay, Berkley Botanical Gardens are now at the top of my list - and Jan IS taking me to the Bay Area for my B-day in 2 weeks, so THANKS for the very cool pics, my friend!

    You have a knack for zeroing in on my favorite specimens - but why should I be surprised? We are horticultural brain twins! That Pachypodium is cresting it's HEART out! I wish I could figure out how to make mine do that! I used to have an Aloe polyphylla (the spiral aloe), but it caught a horrible aloe virus and got very UN-sexy. I want another one BADLY!!!

    I can't WAIT for your Lotusland post!!! I am on pins &needles, and will be waiting by the computer... and then your HUNTINGTON post, which will be hot on the heels of MY Huntington post! See what I mean about Hort Brain Twins??? It's TRUE!!! XO!

  9. Aloe spiral close-up: swirly! spiky! sensational! (in addition to sexy). This, and many of your photos, beg to be enlarged to fine art print status, or, at the very least, a line of cards.

  10. You wrote: Unfortunately I am not sure what the dramatic plant in the foreground is, no label.

    That is Colletia paradoxa, "Anchor Plant".

  11. Love your style, making me laugh with gossiping cacti and running to your car with that aloe :)


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