Thanks for bearing with me over the summer break, but On The Ledge is now back! In this week's show I talk to Australian university professor Dan Torre about his new book Cactus, published by Reaktion Books. It's not a how-to but a guide to the social, cultural and historical significance of cacti across the planet, from our love-hate relationship with this plant to its promise as a nutritious food source. And question of the week is back too. We’ll be finding out what fool proof plants are best for a newbie houseplant grower.
Below is a list of links related to our discussion that should help if you want to find out more:
- The Green Horror comic story we discuss can be seen in all its glory on the Digital Comic Museum website. See below for a taster!
- Read more about the history of the prickly pear as an invasive weed in Queensland on the Queensland Historical Atlas site.
- Yes, there was an episode of the British sci-fi series Doctor Who featuring a cactus-like alien.
- The Pereskia cactus with its highly nutritious leaves (which taste like spinach...) is one I am definitely going to be investigating further.
- Ask someone to draw a cactus and they'll probably do an outline of a Saguaro.
- The dye cochineal is made from a scale insect that feeds on the opuntia cactus.
- Here's a bit more information on the dragon fruit which of course comes from a cactus (Hylocereus species).
- You don't want to mess with the jumping cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) cactus.
Question of the week
Sean James Cameron asks a great question this week:
I suggest a few different plants for Sean, including:
- Easter lily cactus (Echinopsis subdenudata)
- Weeping fig (Ficus benjamina)
- ZZ plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia) (and the cultivar I mention is 'Raven')
Can I get a witness?
If you like the show, please do go and rate and review On The Ledge on iTunes, Stitcher or wherever you listen. It's lovely to read your kind comments, and it really helps new listeners to find the show.
Thanks to my guest Dan Torre; to talented voice artist Mark Hamilton for providing the extra voices you hear in this show and our theme music, Back to the Fuchsia; you also heard Hot Lips by Bill Brown and His Brownies.