Wednesday, January 2, 2013

UC Botanical Garden—New World Desert Collection

This is the continuation of a three-part post about the University of California Botanical Garden (UCBG) in Berkeley. Part 1 was about the Southern Africa Collection. This post is about the New World Desert Collection.

121228_UCBotGarden_NewWorldDesert_pano

New World Desert Collection as seen from the hill that makes up the Southern Africa Collection

This is how the UCBG web site describes the New World Desert Collection:

Garden expeditions from the 1920s to the 1960s yielded many of the specimens in this collection, including desert plants from the southwestern United States, Mexico, and as far south as Chile and Argentina. Several beds feature plants from Mexico's Baja California peninsula. This collection is one of the oldest in the Garden.

Deserts receive 25 cm (10 in) or less of rain each year. Many desert plants cannot tolerate our winter rains. Positioning the collection on a southwest-facing slope provides warmth and drainage critical to the survival of these plants.

Plants from desert environments in different parts of the world may have similar structural forms, resulting from a process called convergent evolution. Compare the leaf rosettes of agaves with those of the southern African aloes.

The rosettes in the following photos are great examples of this concept:

121228_UCBotGarden_Beschorneria-albiflora_02

Beschorneria albiflora; this is the only beschorneria species I have, but mine is still is a baby (just one rosette)

121228_UCBotGarden_Hechtia-texensis_01

Hechtia texensis

121228_UCBotGarden_Dudleya-pulverulenta- -Hechtia-sp_01

Dudleya pulverulenta (front), Hechtia sp. (back)

121228_UCBotGarden_Dudleya-pulverulenta_02

Dudleya pulverulenta

121228_UCBotGarden_Dudleya-pulverulenta_01

Dudleya pulverulenta; note the powder on the ground that has rubbed off the leaves

121228_UCBotGarden_230

Unidentified agave species

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-guadalajarana_01

Agave guadalajarana

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-colorata_02

Agave colorata

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-colorata_03

Agave colorata

121228_UCBotGarden_Yucca-desmetiana-Blue-Boy_01 121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-sp- -Dasylirion-acrotrichum_01

LEFT: Yucca desmetiana ‘Blue Boy’ with Agave parryi
RIGHT: Unidentified agave with Dasylirion acrotrichum

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-xylonacantha- -Agave-parryi-huachucensis_02

Agave xylonacantha

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-parryi-huachucensis_01

Agave parryi var. huachucensis

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-parryi-huachucensis_02

Agave parryi var. huachucensis

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-parryi-huachucensis- -Agave-filifera_01

Agave parryi var. huachucensis (left), Agave filifera (right)

121228_UCBotGarden_212

Agave parryi var. huachucensis (left), Agave filifera (right)

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-atrovirens-atrovirens_01

Agave atrovirens var. atrovirens

121228_UCBotGarden_240

Miscellaneous agaves; check out the flower stalk extending from the plant on the right

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-vilmoriniana- -Puya-sp_03

Agave vilmoriniana; it’s easy to see why its common name is “octopus agave”

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-vilmoriniana_01

Agave vilmoriniana

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-stricta- -Yucca-schottii_01

Agave stricta (left), Yucca schottii (right)

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-stricta- -Yucca-schottii_02

Agave stricta (left), Yucca schottii (right)

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-stricta_01

Agave stricta aka hedgehog agave

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-stricta_02

Agave stricta

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-stricta_03

Agave stricta

121228_UCBotGarden_Yucca-thompsoniana_01

Yucca thompsoniana, a very close Yucca rostrata relative (some people say they are different forms of the same species)

121228_UCBotGarden_Yucca-thompsoniana_02

Yucca thompsoniana

121228_UCBotGarden_Dasylirion-leiophyllum_01

Dasylirion leiophyllum

121228_UCBotGarden_Dasylirion-leiophyllum- -Yucca-carnerosana_01

Dasylirion leiophyllum (left), Yucca carnerosana (right)

121228_UCBotGarden_173

Tour deck overlooking the New World Desert

121228_UCBotGarden_172

Tour deck

121228_UCBotGarden_Dasylirion-wheeleri_01 121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-striata- -Dasylirion-quadrangulatum_01

LEFT: Dasylirion wheeleri
RIGHT: Dasylirion quadrangulatum (back), Agave striata (front)

121228_UCBotGarden_Agave-striata_01

Agave striata

But the New World Desert is about much more than just rosette-forming succulents, as stunning as they are. The large slope seen in the next photo contains a variety of cacti large and small although the selection is nowhere near as comprehensive as it as the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson (read my trip report from July 2012).

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-kuehnrichiana_02

View of tour deck from New World Desert

121228_UCBotGarden_Mammillaria-compressa_01

Mammillaria compressa

121228_UCBotGarden_Ferocactus-glaucescens_01

Ferocactus glaucescens

121228_UCBotGarden_162

Opuntia compressa

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-sp_01

Very large Opuntia sp.

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-sp_02

Very large Opuntia sp.

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-sp_07

Very large Opuntia sp.

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-sp_04

Very large Opuntia sp.

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-sp_06

Very large Opuntia sp.

121228_UCBotGarden_Opuntia-kuehnrichiana_01

Opuntia kuehnrichiana

121228_UCBotGarden_Echinopsis-lamprochlora_01

Echinopsis lamprochlora

121228_UCBotGarden_Puya-alpestris- -Echinopsis-peruviana_01

Puya alpestris and Echinopsis peruviana

If you are a fan of terrestrial bromeliads, you’ll love this wicked puya hedge. Every time I sit on this bench I feel phantom barbs hooking into me from behind :-).

121228_UCBotGarden_Puya-venusta_03

Puya venusta

121228_UCBotGarden_Puya-venusta_02

Puya venusta

In the next photo you’ll see how woody each puya rosette gets. Regular maintenance is needed to prevent this ever expanding clump from intruding onto the walkways.

121228_UCBotGarden_Puya-venusta_05

Puya venusta

Seen in the last two photos in this post, Deuterocohnia brevifolia is a much smaller bromeliad than the puyas above. The “cushions” it forms look deceptively soft from a distance, but up close you realize that they, too, are armed to the teeth.

121228_UCBotGarden_Deuterocohnia-brevifolia_01

Deuterocohnia brevifolia

121228_UCBotGarden_Deuterocohnia-brevifolia_02

Deuterocohnia brevifolia

After so much spikiness, part 3 of this post will take you to the much less dangerous Asian Collection filled with soft and gentle textures.

Related posts:

UCBG Southern Africa Collection

UCBG Asian Collection

13 comments:

  1. I love the Berkeley Botanical Gardens, so glad to have made it this summer. As with any garden things are changing everyday, thanks for giving us the update!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! That's why I never get bored revisiting places I've been to before.

      Delete
  2. So many fantastic plants in this post, I don't know where to start. Three of them really jumped out at me: Hechtia texensis, Agave stricta, and Deuterocohnia brevifolia. Oh, and Mammillaria compressa. Wow!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are among my favorites, too. I couldn't believe how colorful that Hechtia texensis was.

      Delete
  3. So much to love about this post I can't even speak (or should I say type). Great photos! I would have been walking around with my mouth open the whole time. LOL And looks like I will be moving my hedgehog succulent!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL, are you moving your hedgehog agave to give it more space?

      Let's go to the UCBG together in early summer when the cacti are in bloom!

      Delete
  4. Wow Gerhard, amazing! I think my favorite photo group is of the Agave striata. I loved the way you started with a distant photo of the clump and then moved in closer and closer. Simply gorgeous, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Loree! It's an almost impossible to take a bad photo at UCBG.

      Delete
  5. Drool! Well not literally, lol! So many fantastic plants! Wish we can grow succulents permanently outdoors like that here. I know some large arid beds do exist here but not quite like that, it's simply too wet here.

    Agave parryi var. huachucensis, I want more of it. I only have one or two and if I see a bigger one for sale next year will definitely nab it (price permitting!).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!

      Huachucensis is supposed to be biggest of all forms of Agave parryi. It certainly makes stunningly beautiful rosettes when grown in full sun. I have a small one in a pot and it's much more open because it only gets morning sun.

      Delete
  6. Thank you again for this awesome post Gerhard. Agave striata is on my list now. They look so beautiful in masses.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Beautiful place. The plants look happy and well grown despite the extra dose of rain.

    ReplyDelete