Some of the ornamental tomato relatives known as Solanum's have amazing thorns, Solanum pyracanthum has firey toned thorns that are much more interesting than it's average purple blossoms. Many of these Solanum's are now trendy container plants, found at upscale nurseries and in designer collections, but others are being selected for not having thorns, such as the Solanum quitoense below. I much prefer the thornier variety than this new thornless one, for this is a plant that had row after row of devilish thorns both on the top of the leaf, and below. Now, it's practically a fuzzy eggplant.
|NOT ALL ORNAMENTAL SOLANUM'S ARE THORNY, THIS IS A THORNLESS S. QUITOENSE, NEW TO MOST MARKETS FOR ORNAMENTAL CONTAINERS AND SUMMER PLANTINGS. (I MISS THE THORNIER SELECTION, BECAUSE THE THORNS ARE WHAT MADE THIS PLANT SO INTERESTING).|
Some thorn plants, like cacti and those on other desert plants define their species, and agave are often grown for their radial form and symetrical, yet deadly, thorny leaves. I believed that I would never cut these off, and sometimes even selecting the prickliest vartieties to grow, like 'Meat Claw'. I don't really care if I get tormented by 'Meat Claw' or any Agave for that matter, that is, until you step on one by accident, or shove your hand into it without looking. But now with a puppy who likes to hunt, with eyes at thorn level, I have a different outlook on such attributes. Rather than shoving foam peanuts onto each leaf tip until the plants are relocated back into the greenhouse for the winter, I have decided to trim the very point tips off of some of the Agave. Although an eye-patch on a dog has its cool-factor, I'd rather not take that route right now. Our vet bills are just too high as it is.
|AGAVE 'MEAT CLAW', APTLY NAMED.|
Some thorns are just too dangerous, especially the ones found on many species of Agave. Since we keep many in our Agave collection on the steps of the deck, or on the ground in containers where the dogs wander, we have started snipping the tips off. I know that the thorns are some of the best features on Agave, and the snipping them off many equate with declawing a cat, but after seeing a dog at the Tuft's Vet Hospital with an eye patch, and after two nose incidents with our dogs ( not to mention a nasty infected long Agave thorn in Joe's middle finger joint last year), I am taking precautions and simply snipping the very tip ( not the whole thorn) off of the most dangerous Agave plants in pots.
|EUPHORBIA MILII, OR CROWN OF THORNS, IS A COMMON HOUSEPLANT, BUT ALSO A LOVELY THORN PLANT TO KEEP ON A WINDOW SILL. OUR GREENHOUSE IS TOO COLD AND WET FOR THIS SPECIES IN THE WINTER, AND THEY PREFER TO GO DORMANT, OR ROT.|
|A YELLOW FORM OF CROWN OF THORNS, ALMOST GLOWS WHEN IN BLOOM, SINCE THE THORNS ARE GLAUCUS BLUE AND THE FLOWERS LESS OF A HORRID SHADE OF RED.|