Queen of the night (Cereus jamacaru), also called the Peruvian apple cactus, is a large, upright-growing, cylindrical cactus species endemic to South America. Because of its attractive shape, large, white flowers and edible fruit, it is a popular ornamental plant in many South African gardens, from where it may spread into the surrounding veld, threatening the natural vegetation.
C. jamacaru is a perennial succulent tree that reaches between 6m and 7m in height. It usually consists of a short main stem from which numerous thick, vertical branches grow. Sometimes, however, it occurs as a multi-stemmed shrub.
The stems are succulent, green, spiny, and covered with a bluish waxy layer. The stems have four to nine (usually six) conspicuous lateral ribs on which spines occur in groups of six to eight. The spines are 10mm to 20mm long, sharp, straight, and dark coloured.
Each group of spines grows on a brown or grey protuberance (areole) arranged 10mm to 25mm apart on the ribs. The stems are indented at irregular distances, creating the impression of segments. The very young growth tips have succulent leaves on the ribs, but these soon drop off, so that the plant can be regarded as leafless.
The lateral branches arise from the dormant axillary buds between the spines.
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Taking the sting out of the drought
Living through long periods of minimal rainfall has become a way of life for many farmers in various parts of South Africa. Brett Walker, who farms mixed livestock in the Eastern Cape, spoke to Glenneis Kriel about the various ways in which he alleviates the impact of the ongoing seven-year drought in the region.
Living the organic farming fantasy in the Western Cape Winelands
Following the rebuilding of Tulbagh after the 1969 earthquake, Brian Berkman has discovered that this historic town is experiencing yet another revival with trendy art galleries and farm-to-table dining.
Benefits of irrigating with wastewater
A recent study by Dr James Meyer, a private consultant, and Dr Rian Pierneef, a researcher in bioinformatics at the Agricultural Research Council’s Biotechnology Platform, found that wastewater from piggeries significantly increased the microbial diversity of soil. Pieter Dempsey spoke to the researchers.
The pros and cons of drip irrigation
Drip irrigation saves water and electricity, but is not suitable for all crop types. So make sure you end up with the right system, says Bill Kerr.
Groote Post: channelling a crisis into an opportunity
In 2020, South Africa’s wine industry encountered an unusual challenge: a ban on the sale of alcohol as part of the fight against COVID-19. This crisis spurred Groote Post, a family-run wine farm outside Darling, to blend its Internet savvy and tourism offerings with its tradition of winemaking and selling. The farm’s Nick and Peter Pentz spoke to Jeandre van der Walt.
How composting works
Composting speeds up the natural decay of organic material by providing the ideal conditions for detritus-eating organisms to thrive. The result is nutrient-rich soil that helps plants grow.
A formula for successful fynbos production
Nico Thuynsma’s love for all things floral and horticultural, and fynbos in particular, led him to establish a nursery and cut flower operation in the Cullinan area of Gauteng, where he produces proteas and other types of fynbos. Pieter Dempsey spoke to him about his passion for growing these plants.
The Basics Of Bull Management
The money-maker in the herd is the bull, says eastern Free State Simbra breeder Rick Dell. He spoke to Annelie Coleman about the management and selection of breeding bulls for commercial cattle herds.
A charming countryside guest house
Ellas in Greyton offers exceptional food, lovely views and wonderful hospitality, says Brian Berkman.
Over-irrigating costs you money in terms of water and electricity, and may lower your crops’ potential. Under-irrigating is also detrimental. Learn to irrigate properly and at the optimal time, says Bill Kerr.
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