Dracaena compata, Dragon Tree

I was wandering through an Asian market when I ran across a bunch of these in a bucket of water. I had to have one. So I bought two.

Like all Dracaenas they are very easy to care for. These ones are in large vases with clay pebbles. I keep about 4″ of water at the bottom.

Low light, no direct light is needed. Keep them moist. Typical household temperatures are fine ~60’F-80’F

Nepenthes Hookeriana

~ 5 yrs

~ 4 years
~ 3 years

These started in test tubes I ordered on eBay. They have been extremely easy to grow.

They are named after Joseph Dalton Hooker who discovered them. The first mention of them seems to be around 1848

Originally thought to be a species they are a natural hybrid between N. ampullaria and N. rafflesiana. They are found deeper in the jungles climbing up the trees. Early descriptions disagree on everything from the leaves to the pitchers to the growth habit. The wings and roundness of the pitcher seem to be all anyone agreed about.

I haven’t seen upper pitchers on mine yet, but read that they are longer and without wings.

Common to lowlands of Borneo, Malaysia, Sumatra where they grow in bogs.

High humidity, 60’F-90’F, easier to pitcher than some other Neps. I find they do best in open orchid baskets filled with sphagnum which are placed in a dish in which I maintain 1/2″-1″ of distilled water.

UGA researchers develop new method to improve crops

A team of University of Georgia researchers has developed a new way to breed plants with better traits. By introducing a human protein into the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana, researchers found that they could selectively activate silenced genes already present within the plant.

Using this method to increase diversity among plant populations could serve to create varieties that are able to withstand drought or disease in crops or other plant populations, and the researchers have already begun testing the technique on maize, soy and rice.

They published their findings in Nature Communications.

The research project was led by Lexiang Ji, a doctoral student in bioinformatics, and William Jordan, a doctoral student in genetics. The new method they explored, known as epimutagenesis, will make it possible to breed diverse plants in a way that isn’t possible with traditional techniques.

“In the past this has been done with traditional breeding. You take a plant, breed it with another plant that has another characteristic you want to create another plant,” said Jordan. “The problem with that is getting an individual that has all of the characteristics you want and none of the characteristics that you don’t want. It’s kind of difficult. With our new technique, you can modify how the genes are turned on and off in that plant without having to introduce a whole other set of genes from another parent.”

TET-mediated epimutagenesis of the Arabidopsis thaliana methylome

Scientists find how and why behind Saxifraga’s silver crust

Silver linings – new research reveals the science behind the Saxifrage’s silver-white crust

Scientists at Sainsbury Laboratory Cambridge University have found that the mineral vaterite, a form (polymorph) of calcium carbonate, is a dominant component of the protective silvery-white crust that forms on the leaves of a number of alpine plants, which are part of the Garden’s national collection of European Saxifraga species.

Naturally occurring vaterite is rarely found on Earth. Small amounts of vaterite crystals have been found in some sea and freshwater crustaceans, bird eggs, the inner ears of salmon, meteorites and rocks. This is the first time that the rare and unstable mineral has been found in such a large quantity and the first time it has been found to be associated with plants.….

Hydathode pit development in the alpine plant Saxifraga cochlearis

Kosmik Kaktus ?


When ever I go to a home warehouse store I wander through the plant section. Sometimes I get lucky. These caught my eye. How could you miss those colors?

I tried to find information on the company but all I could find were blog and forum entries. If you look closely at the turquoise blue one front and center it appears the newer part of the leaves are growing out green. I’m guessing the plants are just painted? idk?

Kosmic Kaktus has been trademarked by Altman Plants in Calif

If you like these, why not? I’ve certainly done worse things to plants over the years. Might be a fun way to horrify your neighbors?

Peacocks in Houston

In west Houston, near Hobby Airport, and even as far north as Spring you’ll find wild peacocks.

The blue peacocks are native to India. Some claim they were brought here in the early 1980s, but I’ve found references and photos of peacocks in Houston as far back as 1898. The commanding general at Fort Sam Houston liked peacocks and they could frequently be seen around the quadrangle. Sam Houston specifically requested there be no peacocks brought to his place in the mid 1800s.

Texas monthly in Feb 1975 mentions Vargo’s on Fondren as a place to see “azaleas, a large lake, swans and peacocks”. So perhaps, peacocks and Houston go back a long way?

Much like geese, peacocks can take a dislike to a specific person whom they’ll torment every chance they get. Like geese, they leave a mess in any space they frequent. Mostly they are enjoyed and loved by the locals.

Female peacocks are called peahens and are not as colorful as the males, but they are able to fly better (not having to drag the long tail behind them ). Peafowl refers to both male and female peacocks.