Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bunny ears in bloom

In February, I brought home a couple of white-spined bunny ear cacti (Opuntia microdasys 'Albata') from a trip to Southern California. They were in very small 2-inch containers which they had severely outgrown. I repotted them and then put them in planters on top of the low fence around our front yard.

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Bunny ears in 2" pot on 2/27/11
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In our fence-top planter box on 4/13/11

In early May they started to put out flower buds, but due to unseasonably cool weather it took them a month to open up.

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Flower buds on 6/12/11

Unlike our beavertail cactus (Opuntia basilaris) whose blooms are purple, these white-spined bunny ears have light lemon yellow flowers that I find stunning.

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Left flower bud open on 6/14/11
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View of the flower from the top

When looking at the photos, remember that these are small plants (7 inches tall) and the flowers are only 1½ inches across. Actually, their intimate size makes them even more beautiful to me.

A word of warning: As soft and cuddly as this little plant looks, the small white spines (glochids) are nasty. They come off at the slightest touch and stick to everything, including your skin and (rumor has it) your eyeballs. Handle with extreme care.

2 comments:

  1. That's a really nice cactus. I'd love to see some comparative tests on the "prickliness" of your different cactus... maybe use a hot dog as a finger substitute.

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  2. Alan, great idea! Yes, larger spines will obviously poke you harder, but most likely they will not be left behind in your skin. It's the little one--esp. the glochids from opuntias--that I find particularly irksome because they're hard to remove (heck, they're hard to see) and if left in the skin can cause irritation.

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