Saturday, April 16, 2011

First cactus flower of the year

I don’t have time for a long post today, but I really wanted to show you this photo. It’s our first cactus flower of the year. This cactus is in one of the planter boxes I just installed on top of the fence that surrounds our front yard—see this post for details.

What is remarkable that I just bought this plant last week at the Ruth Bancroft Garden and here it is, blooming already (it did have three developing buds last week).

110415_Parodia_uebelmannia_04

The cactus is a Parodia werneri subsp. werneri. It used to be called Notocactus uebelmannius, but underwent a name change when the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study (IOS) merged the genus Notocactus into the genus Parodia in 1989. This kind of taxonomical musical chairs happens fairly regularly as new research results are published. I must admit that while I have some interest in (or tolerance for) taxonomy, my eyes start to glaze over when I delve too deeply into it.

All I really need to know is that Parodia werneri subsp. werneri:

  • Doesn’t seem to have a common name in English that would make referring to it quite a bit easier
  • Hails from southern Brazil
  • Has a solitary growth habit
  • Will get to about 6 inches in diameter
  • Likes to be watered regularly in the summer but must be kept dry in the winter because it rots easily
  • Is hardy to 25°F
  • Has electric purple flowers that appear in mid-spring

And it’s beautiful in the eyes of this beholder, which for most people is all that matters.

After all, most gardeners wouldn’t go to the trouble of caring for a plant as ugly as this one.

3 comments:

  1. That's not one of those glued-on flowers, is it? ;-)

    Are cactus flowers fragrant? (or should I say, is this one?)

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  2. Alan, it does look fake, doesn't it? Somebody it seems impossible for such a small and relatively plain looking cactus to produce such a beautiful flower.

    Today TWO flowers are open. I'll post another photo soon.

    They flowers aren't fragrant, unfortunately.

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  3. Don't you just hate it when you go looking at succulents and they have glued on flowers. It is terrible and most of the time it hurts the cactus. Really makes me made. I may have one of these. And as soon as the flower dies and leaves that strange pod...wait for it to be dry. It may not fall off on it's own. Take it off and break open and you will find the seeds.

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