Sunday, April 16, 2017

Cactus Convert

As a child, when I first fell in love with plants and gardens, I had little interest in cacti. I recall visiting one of my father's brothers and being given an opuntia with those 'lovely' little fuzzy spots! To keep it upright in the car, my father placed it inside one of my rubber boots for travel. I soon discovered that those little velvety patches were comprised of hundreds of tiny barbed spines - hence the common name prickly pear! Since then I have had a healthy respect for cacti!  Despite this long-term loathing, over recent years, I have reluctantly changed my mind. The vivid colored flowers, despite being so transient, lasting only a day or two at the most, have won me over! This year I seem to have noticed far more wonderful specimens than ever before. Here are a few that I've captured recently, the first pictures of Californian natives.

Cholla - Cylindropuntia fulgida - a common desert cactus which seems to have a variable flower color as you'll see from the next picture

Engelmann's hedgehog cactus photographed in Joshua Tree state park
Red hedgehog cactus - Echinocereus coccineus, a native but seen in a roadside garden.

Opuntia basilaris - beavertail cactus
And now some cultivated ones, mostly growing and flowering in my own yard. See - I'm a real cactus convert!

Echinocereus reichenbachii ssp - can't read rest of label!

This and the next three are all Echinopsis 'Torch Hybrids' bought from Lowes last year. There were three plants one one potful had two different colored plants, so I separated them and planted all four which are thriving.

Devil's Tongue Barrel Cactus - Ferocactus latispinus - a recent purchase I couldn't resist!

This and the next are I think more forms of the beavertail cactus, genus Opuntia but I'm sure sure of the exact name.

Opuntia basillaris 'Baby Rita'

Opuntia macrocentra - I think? Given to me by Jim whose plant died but mine is thriving!