Vivero (Spanish) – from Latin vivarium (from vivo “I live”)

In all the Latin languages, and even in English, many words have Latin roots, which usually helps inferring their meaning. That’s why I like a lot the Spanish word used for a plant nursery: vivero, viveros (pl.), coming from the Latin vivere – to live. The best expression of the abundance of life forms, which LIVE and are being brought to life, in these magical places.

Last year we got the chance to visit in Mexico a small vivero for succulent plants. Situated close to Ajijic, on the Hyw. Chapala Jocotepec (Jalisco), it is very easy to miss the modest sign advertising the entrance for VIVERO CACTUS (actually our host/driver had to turn around on the hyw, which I highly NOT recommend doing on Mexican roads).  Upon entering, a small display garden greets you with towering plants of the native Cactus king – Brackebergia militaris. Among other interesting succulents, with its farinose bluish look and orange flowers, Echeveria laui, was incontestably the queen of the show.

Displayed in pots along the main alley, thorny, fatty looking Pachypodium lamerei, flanked by Adenium roseum (Desert rose) plants in flower, drew our attention right away. Both members of Apocynaceae family, they are characterized by pachycaule trunks/stems: enlarged, adapted to store water so as to survive seasonal drought and/or periods of root desiccation in adverse conditions. They are also cultivated as house plants in other cooler climates (hmm, do I need more?).

In a nearby shade-house, cacti and their relatives were sold in small pots, neatly arranged and with their Latin names written on the trays or the pots. Finally, we got to learn the names of a few plants that we have at home. Here in Canada they are all sold under the generic name: succulents or cactus, with the names of the species or even the genus for cacti totally ignored. It was toward the closing time but we manage to take a glimpse to other areas and I’m sure all cactus afficionados will enjoy the gallery bellow and wonder at the wide range of Mammillaria, Agave, Crassula and other interesting species like Titanopsis.

Obviously not a big budget operation, but very charming, orderly and well organized, trying to offer in-house propagated native species, as well as from other regions of the world – a wonderful effort.

 Vivat, crescat, floreat!

(lat. – May it live, grow and flourish)