COLORED LITHOPS FORMS?
by Sergey Chikin, Penza
From Russian magazine «Cacti and not only», 2002.
(editor-in-chief Yuri A. Shinkarenko)
Translation Irina TEN, Virginia, USA
I've never heard or read about anything like that! But as of now I have two one year old seedlings to be more precise – seedlings after first "moulting". Lithops marthae has milky pink color as you can see on the photo. Two seedlings are depicted: on the right – a regular green plant and one on the left looks like a "non-chlorophyle" form of cactus. This anomalous coloration was obtained by a chance.
In the summer of 1999 I was visiting my old friend, ex-chairman of Cactus club, Boris Gusev who lived in Bishkek (Kyrgyzstan) and with whom we founded a Cactus club in Frunze but I was a verdant boy then. He doesn't grow cacti anymore but a part of his old collection survived. Among other succulent genera he has few specimens of L. marthae regularly flowering and setting the seed pods. From Boris I received the seeds.
I saw them in the spring last year. Total number of seeds is more than 50. Almost all of them sprouted. But I saw them in a very shallow tray (depth of soil - no more than 3 centimeters) and in my opinion depth of soil has to be no less than 5 centimeters if you will repot them after first change of leaves. Then they grow faster. The temperature in small cabinet greenhouse with lamps was about 30-35oС. The soil was dry sometimes although I read in literature that it's not recommended to allow soil to dry up. And in that spring I found out that almost all of my collection is infected with root mealy bugs. I spent a lot of time on treating my collection. So I didn't pay attention to lithops. Then the summer came and that means vacation, expeditions… I had no time for plants growing under lamps. In the beginning of the fall I found out that plants under lamps had mealy bugs too. I treated and moved them in a new greenhouse for treated plants. Lithops didn't grow new leaves. Moreover some of them died. I found mealy bugs on them. I treated the survivors again and repotted them. There remained ten plants. Two of them died but the rest started to grow new leaves. And two plants after that became pink. What will happen to them? I hope the charactristic will remain. And I wait impatiently for the second "moulting".