Please help! Cactus identification!

Discussion in 'Cacti and Succulents' started by iamdmf, Aug 16, 2009.

  1. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Hello all, I'm new to this but would appreciate some help in identifying my cactus and what the problem seems to be with it. Recently I noticed that it was turning brown on one one the off shoots. I returned to the shop where I bought it from and they suggested I could have over watered it. Unfortunately they didn't know what type of cactus it was even though there was many still in the shop!!?! Anyway since burying my head in the sand so to speak the base has developed some kind of white fungus, I'm now scared it will die! can somebody please help with the identification and what I should do to fix this problem? Many thanks for your time, David.
     

    Attached Files:

    • 1cac.JPG
      1cac.JPG
      File size:
      35.2 KB
      Views:
      699
    • 2cac.JPG
      2cac.JPG
      File size:
      26.6 KB
      Views:
      1,517
  2. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    I am not convinced that this is a cactus, it could be an Euphorbia (but the picture is not detailed enough, at least not for me).

    So the white patches at the base is some kind of mold? I have never seen that on my plants, but it certainly doesn't look good. When a fungal infection is visible on the surface it usually mean that it is well established inside the plant. If it had been my plant I would have isolated it, taken a spare cutting or two (well above the fungus) and waited to see if the patches grow. If they do I would throw away the plant and root the cutting instead.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2009
  3. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    looks like euphorbia trigonas.

    they 'cork' as they get older, so, most of the discoloration is probably nothing to worry about. that whitish spot at the top of the area looks like it might be some kind of fungus, though. does it scrape off? if so, you'll need to treat with a fungicide.
     
  4. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Hi, it does scrape off, and on closer inspection the brown bits are going soft. It doesn't look in great shape!? Where would i get the medicine for it?
     
  5. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    I think it is doomed, but if anyone knows about a fungicide that can cure this, I would be happy to know about it.
     
  6. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Gutted it was a present out a year ago, what about taking cuttings? Amything at all i'd love to know?
     
  7. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    if the brown parts are going soft, then that means rot. you can cut off the rotted part (make sure you take off every bit that's bad) and allow it to sit until it callouses over and the repot it. let it sit, in dry soil, for a few weeks before giving just a bit of water. continue with little bits of water every couple weeks until a gentle nudge indicates roots have started. then move to monthly waterings and give a bit more water at each watering.

    if the whole base is bad up to the lower branches, you can cut off as much as you need to until you get to good growth and also cut off the bad parts from the branches...thus you'll have one main plant and one or two others.

    use new containers and new soil. or, thoroughly wash the old container - with bleach and rinse really well 2-3 times and allow to thoroughly dry in sunlight - before reusing it. soil should be basic cactus mix with extra small rocks added in for additional drainage. you can also do mostly small rocks/stones and just a bit of regular soil or peat or sand.

    any garden center or the garden dept of a big-box store should have fungicide appropriate to use on this type of plant.
     
  8. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Many thanks for the information, I'm going to take your advice and get myself to the garden centre today. Hope this works! I'll keep you posted with how she is doing. Any further advice is still appreciated.
     
  9. Rosemarie

    Rosemarie Active Member

    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Most SW California, USA
    I'm with Mandarin in not being able to see your plant clearly enough to make a positive ID. It looks like Euphorbia ingens to me, but you'd have to either get a clear pic of it or compare to some pix online.

    Does your plant have 2 spines on a shield, turned out something like horns on a bull? Or are there more than 2 spines at each juncture?

    As for the white stuff...has your plant been injured at all near the spot? Is it possible the white latex (Euphorbia are known for) has just dripped (flowed) out of an injury?

    The brown soft spots do seem to indicate rot. It's possible from overwatering or if you had a freeze lately (not likely this time of year, is there?). Other Euphorbia I had spots on from a freeze...I cut & tossed some & kept others to see what would happen. The ones I kept hardened up in those spots & look ugly (losing a couple small arms though), but are now putting on new growth again. I consider mine an ugly experiment! :)

    If you poke your plant & it oozes white stuff, that would indicate it is a Euphorbia. If you let it drip down & dry, then you can compare to the white stuff you already have. Just a suggestion.
     
  10. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    oh, rosemarie!! i hadn't thought at all about an injury to the plant and the white stuff being the sap!

    yeah, i'll bet that's what it is!! and i'll bet you're spot-on with the id, too ;)
     
  11. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Hi, all after returning home late last night the white stuff had spread and one of the arms was hanging off. I decided it's time had come to an end but i did manage to save two quite healthy looking shoots. Will these be able to be saved and if so how?? Thanks again guys.
     
  12. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    Just what I feared would happen, the white stuff was the spores of a fungus that spread inside the plant - like a camembert cheese.

    Did the "arms" produce any white sap when you cut them?

    You should let them dry for a couple of weeks, it will give you some time to see if the mycelium has spread to them too, and them time to heal the wounds. The cuttings are then put i dry soil. If it is a cactus it should not be watered until new roots have started to grow, which can take time as the resting period soon is here. If if is a Euphorbia (which I think it is) the treatment may differ somewhat (I don't grow Euphorbia and have very little experience of them).
     
  13. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Hi, I did cut the plant to see if it would release any sap but nothing came out!? The two arms are being dried out as we speak and a friend of mine is dropping off a cactus mix, some small stones and some fungicide. A work collegeue has suggested some rooting powder!? The plant pot has been bleached and has dried on the windowsill. So i should leave the arms for two weeks until replanting?
     
  14. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    No sap, interesting. Maybe it is a cactus. A photo of the base of the spines, where they join the main body, would be useful.

    Rooting powders don't have much effect on cacti in my experience, don't know about Euphorbia. Others say that rooting powders do promote root formation on cacti. Many cactus collector dip the cut end in sulphur powder or cinnamon to prevent fungal infections (not a guarantee though).

    When I root cacti I leave them to callous over for at least one month, often 2-3 months. Then I put them on top of a layer of gravel, but I suggest that you bury the cuttings slightly and support them with bamboo sticks or something. They are sensitive to mold, so do not water it until new roots are growing, and then only lightly.
     
  15. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    The remaining plant is now sadly in the bin, i only have the two "arms" so to speak on my kitchen side. Seems strange that I just leave them be for a month or so but you seem to be the expert so i'll take your word for it. Would it be ok to put both of the arms in the same pot? I may see if i can get hold of some cinnamon then, loving the tips! Cheers!
     
  16. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    Yes, I remember how strange it felt when I kept my first cutting dry for about five months, but it did not die, it didn't even get a wrinkle. It took about 1 year before it had formed a decent root ball, but they are constructed to survive that. It is important not to leave them in a warm place, and definitely not in the sun, then they will dehydrate too fast as long as they don't have roots. Some water loss is not dangerous, some cacti even form roots more easily if they lose some water first. Gentle heating from below is beneficial for the rooting process.

    Today I usually take cuttings in late autumn and leave them on a shelf until February-March when I pot them. By then the wounds have healed nicely and many cuttings have already put out some roots.

    The two branches can be put in the same pot while rooting. I strongly recommend you to separate them later.

    It should be said that the time it takes vary strongly with species and time of the year, rooting a Pereskiopsis in June takes just a couple of weeks.

    It is not a good idea to pull on the cuttings to figure out if they have roots until you get more experience, the roots are easily damaged. I use a very coarse material in the pots, so I just remove enough particles around the base of the cuttings to allow me to peek in.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2009
  17. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    All this information is great, you've been a brilliant help! I'll take some more photos after work this evening and show you what's what. Thanks again.
     
  18. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Nottingham,England zone 8/9
    I'm sorry about your plant iamdmf but hopefully you will end up with two brand new cacti, if the cuttings you took root.

    Mandarin is right about not fiddling with it, I had a lovely aeonium (branched succulent) with 5 branches and it got stem rot in the main stem so I had to chop all the rosettes off and try and get them to root separately, unfortunately I wasn't very patient so kept on uprooting the poor things (and in doing so probably breaking any roots that had formed), I think more would have formed roots if I hadn't messed around with them so much! Luckily through all this somehow one did root but then my dog knocked it over and snapped the stem, the top didn't root but the bare stem that was left is now growing several rosettes albeit very slowly so it looks like things have gone full circle and I have my branched aeonium back:)

    I think patience is they key here.....perhaps you can go buy another plant to distract you so you feel less inclined to fuss over the cuttings....? Just a suggestion.

    Also are you from York as in York in England York? If so I've just moved away from there....did you perchance get your cactus from that little florists near Cliffords tower?

    Jen
     
  19. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    HaHa! Amazing yes it's York England and yes it's the same place I purchased mine from. I felt like taking it back as there were no instructions on how to look after it or even what type of cactus/euphorbia it was!? It wasn't cheap either!! Hopefully I'll be able to get growing again, patience shouldn't be a problem as I dont have the greenest of fingers!!
     
  20. JenRi

    JenRi Active Member

    Messages:
    326
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Nottingham,England zone 8/9
    Ha! Yes when I lived there I walked past that shop many times and was always tempted to buy one of their smaller cacti, glad I didn't now.....it's quite bad it didn't come with care instructions.

    No...I'd imagine a cactus (or euphorbia) that big would be on the pricey side :-O!

    If you do want to get any more plants the Homebase at Foss Island in York has a good selection, and they often buy in too much stock so sell it off at half price.

    Good luck with the Cacti/euphorbia!

    Jen
     
  21. iamdmf

    iamdmf Member

    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    York
    Small world!! Thanks for the tip on homebase may have to take a trip there if this doesn't work out. There are some more pics for you to take a look at mandarin if you dont mind?
     

    Attached Files:

    • 1.jpg
      1.jpg
      File size:
      66.7 KB
      Views:
      377
    • 2.jpg
      2.jpg
      File size:
      68.9 KB
      Views:
      372
    • 3.jpg
      3.jpg
      File size:
      50.2 KB
      Views:
      438
  22. joclyn

    joclyn Rising Contributor

    Messages:
    2,707
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    philly, pa, usa 6b
    if there was no sap, then it's probably not a euphorbia. maybe an echinocereus? i'm really not good with cacti id's yet, though.

    regardless, you can certainly allow the pieces to sit for a good month - or even longer - before potting them up.

    the smaller cutting looks like it has some infection going - those light green spots. definitely treat with fungicide. use a topical one for the moment...once it's potted and has roots going (which, as noted, may be quite a while) you can use a systemic type.

    once it's in the soil, leave it be undisturbed so that the roots can form. you can bury an inch or two of the pieces and also put in something for support until it roots and is anchored - bamboo sticks/poles or a metal frame around it.

    good luck and please update later so we know how things turned out!
     
  23. mandarin

    mandarin Active Member 10 Years

    Messages:
    729
    Likes Received:
    35
    Location:
    Sweden
    That is an Euphorbia. As I don't know that genus I should not try to guess the species, but I think Rosemarie is right (E. ingens). Looks good so far.

    What light green spots are you referring to, joclyn? The area in the center of the right edge, picture 3? Could be something lethal or something completely harmless. Keep an eye on it.
     

Share This Page