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Author Topic: Hechtia leaves...some close ups  (Read 602 times)
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sdandy
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« on: January 03, 2012, 03:00:35 »

Wasted a little time out in the garden (and then editing the pictures) today.  I thought the colors, the different spines, the lines, and the scurf are interesting to compare.

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Lisa
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 03:54:41 »

Wow.  Very cool, and not too centipedey.   Wink
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ellisonk001
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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 06:08:55 »

Wow, amazing colors and textures!

Thanks for sharing!
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Devo
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 20:56:01 »

Great selection of pic's Andy...not wasted time all all  Wink #12 is a stand out pic...with the combo of blood red spines and the white scurf  Shocked

Constantino has the theory that dyckia spines assist the plant with heat dissipation, rather than being there for protection against grazing animals.

In general, the spines of hechtia seem to be somewhat more punishing than dyckia, so is this trait a response to their environment, or do they in fact have animals (other than humans...) they need defence from?

Cheers, Andrew.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 21:01:08 by Devo » Logged

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paul_t23
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« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 23:33:22 »

Hey Andy, you should go scurfing more often! 

That is a beaut lot of pics - so much interesting variation.  Love the teeth and trichomes.

Apart from the neat shapes and patterns, one that caught my eye is pic 24 showing an un-scurfed upper surface that looks like it is full of stomata - ie all those small pale pinpricks with what look like silvery airspaces extending back inside the leaf, which would be pretty weird for a dry-adapted plant.  Compare that to the leaves in pics 20, 21 & 25.  They do not seem to show any of the same sort of thing, which is exactly what I would have expected - who would want their pores exposed to the direct sun when you're trying to conserve water!

It's a bit hard to tell what is going on with stomata on the upper surfaces of most of the others because they are completely obscured by scurf, but it would be interesting to find out.  Maybe there are big differences in adaptation to dry conditions?  Did you ever manage to track down that microscope   Shocked

Interesting stuff!  Thanks for sharing it.

Cheers, Paul
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« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 23:43:21 »

Thanks guys.  Glad you enjoy them.  #12-13 is Hechtia Baker's Beauty.  Wes recalls that he got it with a locale name from Baker (but lost the tag), but to me it feels like a hybrid.  One of those unsolved mysteries unless I can find it in the wild or recreate the cross.  

I don't imagine how the spines would be very efficient heat dumps.  I assume he thinks they act as a thin radiator surface?  If that was the case it would seem like the plants would 'bleed' or 'weep' when the spines are broken off (if they actively pump water/sap through them).  I don't recall that ever happening with any of my plants.  Yes, there are deer and rabbits and grazers that live with the plants.  The spineless ones seem to all by cliff dwellers (eliminating the need to worry about deer).  Modern problems would be goats and cattle.  And from what I've seen, the spines work.  When you can find clumps of them in pastures without much other vegetation present, I think that would support the spines as being defense mechanisms.  It is amazing what the goats will eat...but they don't seem to terrorize the Hechtias (wish I could say the same for the d*%#! rabbits!).

As for environmental factors it seems the more hot and more dry the habitat, the more spiny the vegetation.  All plants are in an arms race to protect themselves better.  The only thing I've seen that seems close to the ferocity of a large clump of Hechtias are large clumps of Puyas!

Paul, it may depend on the habitat.  I'll have to double check on a map, but I think the location name on this one is right on the coast so perhaps higher humidity?  Or maybe it grows in a protected spot (maybe vertical rock face or under some scrub)?  Also they are CAM plants, so even if the stomata are on the upper/sun-exposed side, they wouldn't likely be open during the day anyways.

Lots of good stuff to think about...
-andy
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