First wave of cactus flowers, 2013 edition
A few days ago I showed you some cacti that are currently in bloom at the UC Botanical Garden in Berkeley. While my cactus collection is nothing compared to theirs, this is the season for cactus flowers so if you have even just a dozen plants, chances are one or more blooming now. Here’s what’s flowering in my garden right now.
The flowers of Parodia uebelmannia are so brilliant, it almost hurts your eyes. I actually reduced the saturation a little in these photos because they looked too unreal. My specimen is only about 4” across and its body is all but invisible when you look at it from above.
Thelocactus bicolor typically has magenta flowers. Mine are white. I wonder if my cactus was mislabeled when I bought it? But it doesn’t really matter because the flowers are stunning. The petals have a metallic sheen that makes you want to touch them.
Opuntia macrocentra is always the first prickly pear to bloom at my house. (OK, I only have five opuntias, but still.) Its pads have begun to turn more purple as the sun has gotten more intense. It’s a beautiful plant but I give it a wide berth because the glochids are nasty.
I “inherited” this rat tail cactus from a neighbor of my in-laws and it has finally rewarded my patience with a bunch of flowers. I know that Disocactus flagelliformis is a profuse bloomer when happy so hopefully next year there’ll be even more flowers if I keep it watered well. (This is an epiphytic cactus that actually needs moist soil to thrive.)
While the flowers in the photos above range from 2 to 4 inches across, the flower on the Mammillaria below (I lost the tag, so I don’t know the species) is tiny, less than ½ inch in diameter. While it doesn’t have the wow factor of the others, there’s something really neat about its diminutive size in relation to the rest of the plant.
Looking at these beautiful flowers makes me feel good and my daily stresses seem to fade away, at least for a while. Many people get all mushy when they see puppies or kittens. I guess cactus flowers are my botanical equivalent.