Following on from the previous post featuring Cacti, I finally decided to purchase a Cacti & Succulents Plant and Identification Guide book during the week, so I can finally put some more names on my Cacti and Succulent images.  I’m one of those old-fashioned people who find it easier and more enjoyable to look at a book, not the internet (for plants and flowers).

Having re-homed about 600 fiction and many non-fiction books over the last 4-5 years and moving to smaller apartments (twice), I really don’t want any more books, but I figured one more new book wouldn’t destroy the equilibrium of my down-sized furniture and decor 😀

I’ve already got 2 Australian Plant Encyclopaedias on my bookshelf, but they are more general, in both plant and tree species. I also have a wonderful Field Guide to Weeds in Australia I bought at a sale about 25 years ago and didn’t use at all for the first 20 years it lay on my bookshelf.

It can be tedious and very time-consuming trying to identify Cacti (and Succulents), which, on the surface, without flowers (in particular), can look very similar.  Especially as I don’t have the time or eyesight to spend copious amounts of time on the computer any more.

Earlier this year, I went to Melbourne’s largest bookstore to spend some time in their Gardening section.  I was surprised to find that of the 50-60 books on Gardening (in general), most were about planting/growing/landscaping or filled with rather ‘arty’ flower images that showed insufficient detail of the whole plant.  In hindsight, I wish that I’d spent more time photographing the Cacti and Arid section plants in the Royal Botanic Gardens in full detail when I lived so close to the area.

I wish I’d photographed (every plant) in every season too.

But of course, I started out in mid 2010 being an amateur photographer, not a Botanist or Gardener.  My primary hobby is still outdoor Photography even though chronic health symptoms keep me mostly indoors these days.

Back in 2012,13 and 2014 I had a 100mm f2.8 macro lens, so was more interested in experimenting in bokeh or DOF (Depth of Focus).  I still love a narrow depth of field or interesting bokeh on browsing other nature lover’s photography websites to this day.

I wanted to capture the small details of the flowers or spines/stems and for the most part, never realised that Common and Botanical names would become important to me.

Some plants in the Royal Botanic Garden’s main site – they have 3 – had name labels next to the them which I photographed at the time of shooting the flowers and plants.

But between computer crashes, reducing my photo library volume and changing from Windows to a Mac, somehow, some of those plant identification label images seem to have disappeared 🙂

I think I was a little over zealous in my image volume reduction task, but no point ‘crying over spilt milk’ now.

Anyway, my book has been despatched from Booktopia’s warehouse in New South Wales and should arrive in the coming week, so we’ll have a few more plant images between the Birds, Flowers and anything else Nature related that I’ve shared recently on my blog.

16 thoughts on “LEMON BALL, GOLDEN BALL, YELLOW TOWER CACTUS (Parodia leninghausii).

  1. I will be very happy to see more cactus plants and flowers. I think their blossoms are among the prettiest of all plants. Seeing these made me miss the desert of the southwest very much.

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    1. Happy to supply your request, Terry.

      I agree, they are pretty. Wish I had more shots of the flowers, but after the initial cacti photography phase I went on to birds, trees and other flowers. These 2 cacti garden plots were right in between 2 of the south-east RBG entrance gates I used every time I went to the Botanic Gardens.

      (as I type this reply, I’m wondering if there will be a more direct link to the Royal Botanic Gardens if I caught a tram north-west i.e. away from the city, to the end of that line and then get on a connecting tram south-east towards the city again. It’s just a possibility that occurred to me. I admit I haven’t explored all the new public transport system since my usual route to the city has closed and as you know, the actual city centre is too smelly, noisy and crowded for me these days. I think many of us public transport users, as well as car drivers, are gradually finding new routes through continuous construction phases of the new underground train line, road closures, or changes to major city freeway links. I feel sorry for the city workers who suddenly find their train or tram routes changed or delayed and they’re caught in a snarl of traffic jams and late to work. It will end eventually…..2019? perhaps).

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  2. Those cactus flowers are just beautiful, Vicki, I had no idea until I saw them in closeup in your photos.And in fact, the symmetry of the spines is also very interesting.

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    1. Thanks Jane. I love the details captured in most of the cactus close-ups and macro images I took back then. Since most of the cacti and succulents were on raised beds in that area, it was really easy to take close-ups without having to bend over, and the plants didn’t move a fraction of an inch so I could take my time lining up the shot 🙂

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  3. Much of what you’re saying is pretty familiar! I too struggle with identification, and I love paging through real books. I have quite a few field guides. It’s often helpful to check with a google search after I narrow things down, and if I’m really lucky, the place where I saw an unknown plant has been poured over by someone before me who has posted a plant list online, just for that location. That’s the best. 🙂
    It seems to me that Australia should have a bunch of different guides, it’s so big, and aren’t there different habitats? Then there’s the cacti issue, and the not taking photos of flowers issue….and you did the right thing, photographing those labels, but then the computer crashes (been there!) and everything is lost. Groan. I guess it’s a lifelong challenge, and actually, that’s a good thing. 🙂

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    1. There’s certainly some wonderful Field Guides out there, Lynn, but the internet is gradually eroding or replacing the real book stores where you can spend hours browsing. I try to not buy books unless they’re absolutely necessary now, (having just spend the last 3-4 years donating 85-90% of my massive collection to local libraries or the charity shop to sell). Australia has so many indigenous species, compared to some countries, I suspect if would be quite hard to write a book on Australia’s Flowers or Birds (in general).

      Since I deleted years of posts to clear out this blog and set up a new index on the right hand side of the screen, I’m trying to get all the names of birds and flowers correct. Trying to identify some species is so difficult in that there is so much incorrect information on the internet too.

      I even found a small article in a Nature Photography magazine about a bird whose name was so far removed from the real name it was a joke. Obviously the magazine editor didn’t think to check the contributor’s article. It was almost as bad as calling a little finch (or wren) an eagle. I’m a real amateur when it comes to bird identification, but at least I can tell a small bird from a large bird, or a blackbird from a red parrot.

      Identifying flora and fauna is one of the few brain stimulating exercises I do these days.

      I think the enormous stress and close attention to fine details in my long working life just makes me want something very, very simple and easy on the eye and brain in retirement. While it can be frustrating not being able to get outdoors much these days, at least I have the good fortune to have nature and greenery all around my immediate home. Its such an extraordinary contrast to my old busy office life with constant chatter, phones ringing and demanding emails/staff wanting everything ‘done yesterday’.


      1. It sounds like retirement is a huge relief, even with the limitations. Incorrect information is probably just going to increase as life moves ever faster and people pay less attention to the details – I see editing mistakes on a daily basis that I didn’t see five or ten years ago. But along with that comes the plus side, of the connections we can make so easily now.

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  4. Those yellow blossoms are beautiful. They look rather like the flowers on my lace cactus, which were pink with yellow centers, but had the same staminal structure. One thing I’ve noticed re: cacti recently is an increase in articles about taxonomic changes due to DNA analysis. I knew that was happening with other plants, but it never occured to me that the cacti folks would get involved with it, too. Silly me. In some cases, I’m happy enough to get the genus right, and just depend on that lovely “spp.” abbreviation for the species. There’s not enough time left in my life for me to get it all right!


    1. I know exactly what you mean, Tanja. Fortunately, I can’t see well enough to enjoy fiction any more, so I buy the occasional DVD (which gets viewed over and over many times – especially the Nat. Geo & Foreign films 🙂 )


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