More cacti in bloom

Many of my posts this week were fairly depressing, dealing with hail damage, me inadvertently killing a potted bamboo, and such. Today I want to change the focus to something more uplifting to get you and myself in a positive frame of mind for the weekend.

A couple of weeks ago I posted a few photos of my Red-Headed Irishman cactus (Mammillaria spinosissima) beginning to flower. In typically mammillaria fashion, the tiny flowers form a ring that goes all the way around the cactus. This ring is now complete and looks fantastic.

Mammillaria spinosissima, about 6” tall
Mammillaria spinosissima
Mammillaria spinosissima


Two other small mammillarias are blooming. The first one goes by the impossibly complicated name Mammillaria camptotricha cv. Marnier-Lapostollei. It has very odd-looking spines which aren’t even that prickly—more like bristles on a brush. It’s only a couple of inches wide and tall but it already has a couple of offsets along the side. The flowers are tiny but otherwise look like mammillaria flowers.

Mammillaria camptotricha cv. Marnier-Lapostollei
Mammillaria camptotricha cv. Marnier-Lapostollei


The next one is Mammillaria elongata 'Julio', currently about 3” tall and looking like a pickle with star-shaped bristles. Even this juvenile cactus is flowering freely, with tiny pinkish blossoms. As with the other mammillarias described above, the flowers are arranged in a ring around the upper ⅓ of the cactus. You can see a couple of small babies at the base.

Mammillaria elongata 'Julio'
Mammillaria elongata 'Julio'


The last cactus I want to show you isn’t even a cactus, technically speaking, but rather a euphorbia. In other words, it’s in the same genus as the woody spurges and—yes!—the ever-popular poinsettia. Euphorbia horrida looks very similar to star cacti (genus Astrophytum) of which I bought two at the Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA earlier this spring. Click here to see photos of these superficially similar cacti.

While astrophytums have large and colorful flowers, Euphorbia horrida has tiny and unassuming flowers. Still, in the grand scheme of things, it must be enough to keep the species going.

Euphorbia horrida
Euphorbia horrida

I’m pretty excited that so many of the small cacti in my collection are blooming already. That’s the kind of pleasant surprise that makes gardening so enjoyable!


  1. I grew what looks like Mammillaria elongata for years, and never saw a flower. Are there other species that look the same that perhaps don't flower as soon?


Post a Comment