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Cereus gone wild

Message from Richard TX

I was over at the Edinburg Nature Center last afternoon and was amazed at how many Cereus sp(p?) that have naturalized around their little lake. I've seen the same general type of Cereus come up scattered here and there in other places near Edinburg and Weslaco but never so promiscuously before like this - they are absolutely everywhere, by the hundreds at least. I don't which species it is, it can apparently grow through the thick nasty guinea grass while native plants don't have a chance in the smothering grass. Also absent were the usual clustering Aloe and Kalanchoe spp that you usually encounter in the same type of disturbed environment. I'm also not quite sure why you don't see Stenocereus pruinosus there except in deliberate plantings, it only misses the Texas border by maybe 50 miles at its closest points in the wild.

Some look like they came from the cultivated spiralis form. This is remarkable because those are nowhere near as freeze tolerant as a large number of other columnar cacti (Stenocereus, saguaros, Pachycereus pringlei, terscheckiis, senitas, Stetsonia, Cleistocactus, etc). Why this species takes over here is anyone's guess, perhaps many other cacti seedlings won't tolerate the shade or humidity so close to the ground.

Speaking of others species, there are also Harrisia, Nopalea, and Acanthocereus along the trail, including what look like cultivated forms of Acanthocereus instead of the wild type near the coast. It's much more common to see Harrisia naturalizing than Cereus so this is not unexpected. I suspect bits and pieces of cacti, especially the nopaleas, are falling off and forming new plants.

Okay, back to your regularly scheduled weather posts (it's been warm here if anyone is curious).

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