Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Plants I'm Growing: First Blooms--Opuntia Elata, Chitalpa Tashkentensis

First blooms of 2011 today on the Chitalpa tree in the back garden and first blooms yesterday, June 21, on the large cactus, Opuntia elata, a type of prickly pear with unusual orange flowers. It is originally a native of Argentina. I have no record of the first bloom last year, as I was away in Europe, but Opuntia elata bloomed on June 4 in 2009.

The Chitalpa is a small tree that resembles a Catalpa tree, which is logical as one of the two parents of this hybrid is the Catalpa (Catalpa bignoniodes). The other is the Desert Willow (Chilopsis linearis). These small trees are fairly drought-tolerant and look very attractive at most times of the year. The flowers attract hummingbirds. The Chitalpa tree in my garden bloomed on June 1 in 2009. I have no record for this plant for 2010.

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