I brought this little succulent home with me just the other day, another impulse plant purchase in a long line of plants that simply could not be left at the store.
I think it is a Haworthia cooperi but I must warn you that I am not 100% certain. There are just too many of these darn things with subtle variations that I am not sophisticated enough to distinguish. The aspect of this plant I like most are the amazingly translucent parts of its fleshy leaves. These clear-ish areas are commonly referred to as “windows.” You can see through them almost as if you are peering inside the plant. When the sun hits these windows the effect is beautiful, elegant, and a little bit creepy.
The deep orange background in this photo is the Windowsill Cozy I crocheted for my windowsill last winter.
Photo taken at the Cactus Garden outside Santiago de Cuba
I don’t know how it happened but Davin RUINED my highly artistic photo with his butt and apparently I did not notice until I looked at the film. Look at all of those spider webs among the leaves of the plant. I wonder what kind of Cuban spiders lived there?
Every information source I consulted bragged that Cuba does not have any venomous animals but I continue to remain suspicious of that factoid given that during our short week trip we encountered several instances in which Cubans tended to deny one thing or another.
“There is no crime in Cuba!” bragged one tour guide.
“We do not have any social problems here!” said another.
“There are no sharks in our waters.”
All of these proclamations seem a little unlikely so you can imagine why I’m not completely convinced that there are no venomous animals on the entire island. It’s not that I was afraid. The presence of venomous or deadly animals is not going to limit me. I’m not about to cower in my hotel room worried that stepping out into the world might lead to certain death. I’ll go in the water (albeit tentatively) if I know sharks are a possibility. I just like to know what I’m dealing with. I like all potential hazards out in the open so I can ascertain how to best ensure my safety.
That giant blob at the very top of the hill that looks just like another regular old tree is not in fact another regular old tree but a massive cactus. It was a pretty darn impressive sight for this born and raised North American cold winter dweller.
Background on the Location
I took this photo at a strange Cuban roadside attraction called “El Valle Prehistorico”. We paid 1 peso each to enter and 1 peso each to take pictures. Fidel’s revolution began in the Sierra Maestra mountains and the land this attraction sits on was a former farm that had been pertinent to their activities in the countryside. The premise of the place was cheesy; life-sized plaster dioramas featuring caveman era vignettes. There was a dinosaur area on the other side, but the place was so big and the sun so hot, we skipped it. Despite the cheese (which was awesome in its own right) the landscape was stunning, covered in carpet of flowing, golden grass, dotted with cactus and other interesting plant-life, and backed by the majestic Sierra Maestra mountain-scape. I love my grasses so it was pretty near heaven.
Photographed in the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba.
I have to admit that I can’t say with any real authority whether this is sugar cane (Saccharum) or King Grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Sugar cane is a pretty major source of sugar and King Grass is grown as cattle feed. They looked so much alike out in the fields that it could go either way although with the thicker lower stalks I am leaning towards sugar cane in this case.
I took a much nicer photo of this day lily but felt it more apt to post this lesser image because it shows context. Finding day lilies blooming in a botanical garden in Cuba just seemed weird and wrong. I like them well enough and have a large patch growing in my street garden to boot, but we call them “ditch lilies” around these parts, which says a lot about how common and valued they are.
Those are palm trees behind the flower. There was an orange tree outside of the frame to the right. Crazy stuff, I tell you what. And a good example of the grass being greener…