In Issue 25:

Loaves, Fishes, and Flies (with photos)
by Stephen Hammer
Sphaeroid Institute, Vista CA 92064

by Tom Knapik (with photos)
from Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

by Chris Miller (with photos)
from Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Succulent Orchids
by Pam Badger (with photos)
from Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Contemplating Frailea
by Mark Fryer (with photos)
from Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

by Sue Haffner
Cactus Corner News Fresno C&SS

by Sue Haffner
Cactus Corner News Fresno C&SS

by Sue Haffner
Cactus Corner News Fresno C&SS

Notocactus, Oops Sorry Parodia
By Kim Hamilton
Western Suburbs Cactus Club Journal (Australia)

Hard Water In Las Vegas
By Stan Korabell
The Beaver Tale C&SS of Southern Nevada


Loaves, Fishes, and Flies
by Stephen Hammer, Sphaeroid Institute, Vista CA 92064
from: Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Asclepiads arc notoriously prone to rot; and the less an asclepiad branches, the more prone it is to swift and total loss. These misfortunes would have large commercial implications if the plants were more popular in the nursery trade. Alas, they are generally regarded as ephemeral and difficult. (In truth they are neither, intrinsically; but that is another subject.) Nonetheless, there is a perennial market for them. If I may judge by sales histories, Pseudolithos is the most popular genus, followed by Lavrania and Hoodia, favoring an absurd price structure. Fifteen years ago one could purchase P. migiurtinus and P. cubiformis (yes, cubiformis) for $50.00 each. During the same period, lovely and subtle Echidnopsis species sold for no more than $3.50. Until recently, the average US price for a lemon-size P. migiurtinus was $35.00!

Spurred on by such a grandly sphaeroid carrot, in April 1998 I purchased 500 seeds of P. migiurtinus. I promptly sowed the seeds in 4-inch pots, 25 to a pot, covering them lightly with gravel. Germination took an unnerving week, but within a month the seedlings were pea sized. Under the greenhouse conditions which prevail in southern California (considerable brightness, continuous warmth and feeding, comparatively little humidity) they thrived. Incidentally, I used no fungicide at any point and lost only a few seedlings.

Within a year the pots were bulging and the plants were nearly as large as walnuts. In early summer they began to flower. Without any stimulus from me, fruits formed on half the plants. I was delighted but puzzled, as the greenhouses had few obvious visitors. None of the humans knew a corona from a Toyota, gnats and houseflies were few, and yet we had 200 horns, as the proper botanists indelicately call them. By the end of summer 1998 I had enough seeds to give several hundred to Carl Volkers, co-owner of C & J Nursery. Within two years Carl's plants were producing enough seeds to fill 30 flats (16 x I7 inches). His stock plants are now as large and firm as tennis balls, if a bit more knobbly. I might mention that such vegetative celerity is not exceptional, especially with Cacti. Given enough warmth, light, and food, Asclepiads and Cacti behave like the suppressed tropicals they are (think of Pereskia and Fraelia). Plants which have a natural periodicity (sphaeroid Mesembs, bulbs, Othonnas) do not fare as well at the ever-flowing trough.

But back to Pseudolithos and Manunon. With P. dodsonianus the story is the same: ease and fecundity. Perhaps this species is even easier, because it branches from an early age, six months or so, and its fruits are small but numerous, adorning every shoot. Whatever visits P. migiurtinus also visits P. dodsonianus, producing a small number of beautiful brown skinned hybrids which have the pyramidal shape of Whitesloanea crassa. Ironically enough, the hybrids fetch a much higher price than pure Pseudolithos, $8.00 rather than $4.50. How the mighty are fallen! Speaking of which: though I do not grow Whitesloanea crassa (after stupidly freezing a pair, I gave my surviving three to friends in South Africa), I do have Barad's W crassa x Huerniopsis decipiens. It has yet to set any fruits. I will put a piece amongst C & J's burgeoning Pseudolithos plantation and see what happens.

* Though I still don't know which insect accomplishes the pollinations. I do know that a solitary P. migiurtinus can be self-fertile, likewise Stapeliopsis neronis. Under the same conditions, solitary (or multiple) Lavranias have never set seed for me.

Pseudolithos migiurtinus, lots of flowers
Pseudolithos migiurtinus, with fly


by Tom Knapik
from: Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

In May and June of 2003, the copiapoaphiles of the world will be assembling in Chile for what is being called the Copiapothon. They will be visiting and photographing the best known Copiapoa sites and seeking out the more obscure populations and looking for new species. COUNT ME IN!!

For those of you who are not familiar with the Copiapoa genus, you are missing out on one of the easiest and attractive plants in the Cactaceae. These beautiful plants with their white/bluish epidermis and black spines are stunning. They thrive in cool moist conditions which would usually turn other cacti to mush. Some of the nicest plants I've seen in a collection are grown less than a mile from the coast in the Monterey area.

These coastal conditions are very similar to the habitat copiapoas grow in throughout Chile. The entire genus lives within a narrow strip of land just miles from the ocean. They obtain their moisture from the coastal fog, not rain. They grow in a desert called the Atacama and it is one of the driest places on Earth. There are some localities that have never recorded rain and look like the surface of Mars.

The entire genus evolved recently along the west side of the Andes in what is now exclusively Chile. They are continuing to evolve and in my opinion several types have not stabilized into one distinct form making it very difficult to identify different species. Some forms from the coast to the San Ramon Valley up to Mt. Perales blend one into another forming a biological cline. These "complexes" are much more recognizable by their locality rather than the species they belong to. For those advanced collectors who are adding the rarer plants to their collection, locality of the plants or seed is very important. Schulz and Kapitany sold seed packages of 50 localities several years ago and those plants are now a decent size, expressing those unique characteristics of that local population.

Many plants grown in our country were originally obtained from Karl Knize who still has a nursery near Lima, Peru. Many of these plants were collected because they represented the most extreme forms of a population and look quite different from the typical plants. They were given a K.K. number and Karl has produced a catalog listing all the corresponding localities. These plants are prized among collectors.

A good source of information on Copiapoa was published by Graham Charles and titled The Cactus File Handbook #4: Copiapoa. It gives a good description of the most recognizable species. Fred Katterman is in the process of writing a book on all Chilean cacti. The difficulty separating species from forms and hybrids has delayed its release, but it should be out in a year or two. Carlo Doni, an Italian copiapoaphile and editor of the Italian Cactus Co. journal, published a list and description of all the species and synonymies known in the literature in Piante Grasse #4 vol. 11. To date, it is the most comprehensive coverage of the genus, unfortunately it is all in Italian. The original work by Ritter in Kakteen in S\330damerika, still serves as a source of valuable information and controversy. Two species in the Botija Valley have not been positively identified even though they are quite distinct and should have been observed by Ritter, yet he gave no clear description of them.

One of the best general books on the genus was written by Rudolf Schulz and Attila Kapitany titled Copiapoa in their Environment. It combines a travel log structure with species distributions and environmental information and served as a guide on both of the trips I took to Chile. It is Rudolf that has set the itinerary for the Copiapoathon. Anyone interested in these fantastic plants is welcome to meet up at the designated spots on specific days to explore the Chilean countryside with experts in the field. I hope to see you there!

Copiapoa from near El Cobre
Copiapoa tenebrosa
Copiapoa species


by Chris Miller
from: Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Lobivia are a group of cactus that has been in contention pretty much since they were found in the mid 1800s. Originally called Echinopsis they have been sorted in and out of categories for over the last 150 years. Britton and Rose, in their book in 1922, presented all the Echinopsis with short flower trunks as a new genesis, Lobivia. Once that was done the battle for what to call them was on. In his 1975 book, Lobivia, Walter Rausch attempted to reorganize the Lobivia species from about 300 plants down to around 50. His book was considered pretty radical and in Lobivia '85 he readdressed the topic and that book's findings were more accepted. Today in the index of The Cactus Family, by Edward Anderson, under Lobivia it says "see Echinopsis." Anderson considers the differences to be "fuzzy at best". My theory based on emotion versus science and knowledge is...if it is called Lobivia on the tag or it looks like my idea of a Lobivia, then I will call it a Lobivia. There are two primary reasons for this. One, I can say Lobivia and two, I like the way the word sounds!

Lobivia are small globular or cylindrical cacti, which grow either as a single stem or in clumps. The flowers have shorter tubes than Echinopsis and are bell shaped. The flower colors range from yellow, orange, red to purple, with lots of hybrid colors between. They are native to Peru, Argentina and Bolivia (where the name came from.)

They need a cool winter to support great blooms in the spring and summer. They like good light, but not direct harsh summer sun. Remember they are small so other plants and grasses offer them some shade.

An average porous cactus mix will work well as a potting medium. Water, when dry during the warm months and hold off on water during cold winter months. Watch the short tight spines for mealy bug and scale.

Lobivia can be propagated from seeds, cutting and pups. Since they are so closely related to Echinopsis they are easily hybrid. For a great web site on these hybrids try the website:
This site has information on hybridizing, the people who do it and some great pictures.

Other sources for Lobivia information are:
Called the Lobivia Tour which has lots Lobivia specific information & pictures
Has Great pictures and growing information

Lobivia arachnacantha
Lobivia silvestrii
Lobivia sp.


Succulent Orchids
by Pam Badger
from: Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

Orchids are not usually the first plants that come to mind when you think of Succulent Plants, and some people may argue that they are not really succulents because they do not appear in Jacobsen's Lexicon of Succulent Plants, but I have found several that thrive around our place, which makes them succulents in my book because everything else dies here!

Let me start by saying that I am no expert when it comes to Orchids and do not have many. As most people are, however, I am attracted to these beautiful and varied plants and have picked up a few over the years that are particularly succulent in nature and very easy to grow. They flower readily with blooms that can last for months on end - it is easy to see how some people get so attached to these plants that they will risk life and limb, not to mention the big bucks, to acquire these plants.

Though orchids are generally collected for their blooms, some of them are quite stunning even when not in bloom - and these are the ones I tend to be attracted to for their succulent nature. They may have fat, robust pseudobulbs or leathery, drought resistant, leaves and stems and thrive side by side with cactus and other succulents. My collection includes:

Oncidiums - I have a couple of different varieties - hybrids with names like 'sugar baby' which I picked up at Trader Joe's about six years ago. These are very easy to grow and send out large sprays of bright yellow flowers in the spring and fall. The older they get the larger the pseudobulbs get. They can be grown in pots in a loose, medium orchid mix, they seem to like it best when really crammed into the pot and overgrown. In fact I have not transplanted mine for years and may never - when they get top heavy I just stick that pot in the next larger pot - and the orchids seem to be perfectly happy. I also stashed some of these in the top of a staghorn fern and wired some on a log with some bromeliads and they are all happy and bloom regularly.

Encyclia - I have an E.hanburii which I purchased at Santa Barbara Orchid Farm about eight years ago. I am quite fond of the round, fat, wrinkled little pseudobulbs and it has bloomed for me every year for the past five years. Encyclias are among the easiest orchids to grow and have amazing summer blooms which last for many months. For years they were classified as Epidendrums and were commonly called "bulb epis." They are also called "butterfly" orchids after the wing shaped blooms.

Eulophia - The spectacular E. petersii has been popular around our Society for a few years now ( I remember bidding up to $50. for a small one at our picnic several years ago before loosing it to a higher bidder) and there are usually a couple in our show. Their stout rugged pseudobulbs, and leathery, gray- green leaves make them a great addition to any succulent collection. I have one now in a ten inch pot and quite large. I was quite delighted this last Spring when I thought it was going into bloom - 8 spikes emerged from the soil around the plant - but it turned out to be all new pseudobulbs. They have all gotten to full size and the plant is really crammed in the pot - now maybe it will bloom. I did see this plant in bloom at the Huntington - it was so overgrown it had broken out of its 5 gallon tub and the bloom spikes were about six feet tall with clouds of tiny, cream colored flowers. It is easy to see how they got their name, which translates as good, beautiful plume!

Dendrobiums - This is the second largest genus of orchids with over 1000 species. They are mostly epiphytes from Asia and the South Pacific. As there are so many they have a wide range of cultural habits. I have two species that are VERY different from each other. D. speciossum is a large, deep green, leafy orchid with long , hard, succulent stems. I have had this plant for years, having acquired it at the San Diego Orchid Society show and sale many years ago when one of it's kind won Best in Show. Mine is in a ten inch pot, getting quite large, but has not yet bloomed. At the other end of the scale is a D.wesselli which I got in Hawaii last December. This tough, leathery little plant, growing all over a three inch clay pot, displayed a spray of delicate, curly whitish blooms this Summer which had a sweet, light fragrance morning and evening.

I grow all my orchids outside, on the covered patio or under an umbrella on the deck. They get filtered sun and good air circulation. They all dry out between waterings and get diluted fertilizer with every watering all spring and summer and into the Fall if they are blooming. I bring them inside to enjoy the blooms and this does not seem to bother them -I think they like to show off. So, keep an eye out for some of these fun and amazing plants and try some amongst your other succulents!

Key for photos

1 = Oncidium "sugarbaby" & Encyclia hanburii
2 = Dendrobium wesselii
3 = Eulopa petersii
4 = mixed Oncidiums


Contemplating Frailea
by Mark Fryer
from: Espinas Y Flores, newsletter of the San Diego Cactus & Succulent Society

One of the most frequent contemplations I have about Frailea has been around its method of generating (or not) seeds. Frailea flowers are cleistogamous, possibly exhibiting some degree of apomixis (either obligate- impotent offspring- or facultive -possibly sexual offspring), but nearly always producing copious seed if the flower never opens. If the flower opens, no seeds will be produced. I have been unable to set seed on Frailea by cross-pollinating various species of Frailea in flower simultaneously, but Frailea flowers are usually shy to reach anthesis anyway.

Cacti are very sexual plants. For a specialized, semi-woody, perennial plant family to exhibit the entirety of sexual and asexual reproduction that the Cactaceae do, and do it all within the new world (for all practical purposes), one might assume the Family to be at least fairly uniform and concise. This would be a classic "false assumption" in terms of cacti, from their outward appearance (morphology), to their DNA.

In getting familiar with the naked ovary, members of the family Cactaceae have two means of reproduction, sexually (self-fertilization, cross-fertilization, and cleistogamy), and asexually (floral-vegetatively via proliferation {vivipary - think of Opuntia prolifera or others that will offset from a fruit - The term 'vivipary' is also used to describe the germination of seeds within a fruit, a common occurrence in a number of cacti genera} or via Agamospermy {apomixis - the ability for the female to set fertile fruit without male assistance - or parthenogenesis where the embryo develops from the egg cell without fertilization}). To the best of my knowledge no one has ever taken the cleistogamy question further, to determine whether the plants are actually self-pollinating or not.

Cleistogamy is such an interesting behavior; I am surprised at the dearth of hypothesis regarding whether or not it presents a possible basal or derived character state. The only other genus that exhibits this behavior is Melocactus, which many consider to be a highly derived member of tribe Cereae. Would this indicate derivation for Frailea within Notocactinae, or is it more primitive? Some suggest looking at another self-fertile miniature due west of Frailea's homeland: Blossfeldia. Some have even suggested lumping the two together (which is asinine in my opinion), but the fruit, seed, and floral characteristics are too extreme from one another to warrant too much attention. It would be easier to make the case that the plants have seeds very close to Malacocarpus (Notocactus), and must be a close cousin. When the rare flower does open, a striking similarity to many of the canary-yellow Notocactus and Parodia flowers is seen.

With Frailea we have an opportunity for contemplating cactus floral reproduction from all sorts of perspectives, we have a genus that forces us to look at what constitutes a species from a form, and we have a charming, true-miniature ornamental cactus.

Frailea might be viewed by some as a jangled mess of nomenclutter. Originally named by Britton and Rose in honor of Manuel Fraile, a Spanish-born caretaker of the cactus collection at the USDA in Washington DC, the genus has seen more than it's fair share of revision, amplification, and lumping. Originally thought to contain 8 species (one of which wasn't even a Frailea- Gymnocalycium bruchii), they cited the type as Frailea (Echinocactus) cataphractus, which was described from greenhouse material. Bear in mind that the tide of enthusiasm for botanical treasures from South America had flooded the horticultural market with copious forms and varieties some 50 years prior. Britton and Rose had never seen a flower, but saw fit to include it in their sub-tribe Echinocactinae based on it being a globular cactus with fuzzy-hairy fruit. By the time Backeberg attempted to define the genus some 30 years later, there were well over 100 species in circulation, and he actually reduced the number to 35, with provisional varietals adding 8, for a grand total of 43 forms of Frailea. Since 1966, there have been additions and subtractions to the extreme from all sides of the argument, resulting in a high-end figure of well over 200 species and forms, to 18 species with a couple of forms. A search on the IPNI website returns 302 entries.

As long as I've been growing cacti, the genus Frailea has been a source of fascination, contemplation, and frustration for me. Contrary to many growers' opinions about them, there's nothing "frail" about Frailea at all. I suppose the phonetic similarity to the word "failure" probably doesn't help these little plants take center stage in more cactus collections around the world. As with most tap-rooted cacti, the Frailea demand some special care in cultivation to avoid either failure, or a frail plant. To add to the challenge of raising Frailea, they are relatively short-lived plants, only lasting a mere 15 or 20 years before simply dying of old age.

The vast majority of Frailea are propagated from seed, and if one wants to truly engage with the diversity of the genus, basic seed-germinating skills will be required to flesh out the genus in cultivation. This is probably the cause of the dearth of commercially available plants, where the ornamental horticulture industry balks and the collectors and specialists shine. I have raised Frailea from seed to flowering in 6 months under 24-hour light cycles with a constant temperature available for juvenile plants to mature very quickly, which from the longevity standpoint makes sense to me.

Culture of Frailea in captivity is essentially the same as for any tap-rooted species: don't let it dry out, and don't plant it in something that's going to stay soggy for more than ten minutes. Bruising the roots when it's attempting its subtle and brief fall/spring slow-downs (I won't say dormancy, because I don't believe these actually need a dormant period in the sense Echinocereus or Coryphantha do) can be catastrophic, but fortunately Frailea are usually quick to recover. My oldest plants occupy 2" pots that probably haven't had their soil changed in over 10 years.

I encourage anyone with an interest in cacti to grow as many different forms of it as they can find!

Frailea horstii v. fecotigensis


by Sue Haffner
Cactus Corner News Fresno C&SS

``Is that really a cactus?'' is what a lot of people say when first told that that lush, hanging, apparently spineless plant is a cactus. Yes, it is. Not only that, but Rhipsalis is one of the largest genera in the Cactaceae. Specialists count about 75 species, including those formerly listed as Acanthorhipsalis, Erythrorhipsalis, Hatiora, Lepismium, Pfeiffera, Pseudozygocactus, and Rhipsalidopsis.

It is one of the so-called `jungle cacti', being native to tropical forest regions, most from Brazil, but also found in Argentina, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Florida, and other areas. One species, R. baccifera, is also found in parts of Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal - the only cactus species that appears to be native to the Old World. (There has been a lot of discussion as to whether it was really native there or was brought by birds, but no one can yet know for sure.)

Most Rhipsalis grow as epiphytes, hanging from trees along with orchids and bromeliads, giving rise to one of its common names, ``Mistletoe Cactus''. Several species do grow in the ground, however. Stems are typically long and flexible and have few ribs. Areoles and spines are present but are much reduced in size in most species. Most stems are pencil-shaped to flat; some have frilled or wavy edges. Adventitious roots assist in water absorption from the air and easily take hold and support the plant whenever they find a suitable environment.

Flowers are small, symmetrical and of a pale color. Many bloom in late winter or early spring. The fruits can be attractive - red, white, or black berries.

As epiphytes, Rhipsalis species do well as hanging plants. Being tropical, they appreciate warmth and humidity - though most survive outside all year in our area. Filtered light is best, or morning sun. They need a lot of water in summer when they are growing, but will rot if drainage isn't good. Use a potting mix suitable for Epiphyllums.

Propagation is usually by cuttings, though they can also be grown from seed.

Given the rapid destruction of South American rainforests, Rhipsalis habitat is under severe stress. One species, R. pentaptera, is known from only one site, now within the city limits of Rio de Janeiro.

For more information, check the following web site:


by Sue Haffner
Cactus Corner News Fresno C&SS

A Fockea is one of the first ``fat plants'' most of us add to our collections. The nearly ubiquitous F. edulis, common in the commercial trade these days, is easy to grow and hardier than a lot of other caudiciforms.

The genus is endemic in South Africa. The species are all remarkable in being caudicform chamaephytes, which means that they possess a large turnip-shaped root or subterranean stem tuber. This tuber is made up of spongy parenchyma tissues capable of becoming engorged with water during the rainy season and then storing this precious commodity for use during the dry seasons or years of prolonged drought. Some fockeas have been found in nature weighing close to 100 pounds, and it has been determined from field studies that fockeas grow slowly to great ages - two hundred years, or more.

Young fockea plants usually grow in the shade of trees and bushes. As they mature, they send up scandent twining, straggling or erect aerial stems, which can become so dense they sometimes strangle the support shrub to death. At other times, when rain has been scarce, fockeas are hard to find, as they can drop their leaves and branches. The tubers can stay alive for years and years, though their size and weight can decrease during prolonged severe drought.

Fockea flowers are typically bisexual, greenish white, and nearly inconspicuous, with some exceptions. The leaves are all simple and opposite, but vary in size and shape. Some have entire and flat margins, while others are undulating and crisped. Populations in the field display a variation of leaf shapes, which has led to as many as eleven species being reported. Many of these are probably just intermediate forms, but more work needs to be done on this.

The genus Fockea was first published in 1838, with F. capensis as the type species. The plant being described was the world's oldest potted specimen plant, one in the collection of the Schonbrunn Palace Gardens, near Vienna, then almost 200 years old. This plant is reportedly still alive today, having been collected in 1794 by Thunberg. The generic name honors Gustave W. Focke, a plant physiologist. The genus was revised in 1981 by G.D. Court, who reduced the aforementioned eleven species to five: F. multiflora, sinuata, edulis, angustifolia, crispa and comaru. The author admits that considerable variation exists between several of these.

CULTURE: Fortunately, these plants are of relatively easy culture. A coarse gritty, well-draining soil medium that ensures fast draining is called for, along with a dry winter rest. Your editor has plants that have survived a number of winters in my unheated plant house. I have never brought them into my house, no matter how low the temperature. They usually lose their stems - though not always - in winter. Actually, it is recommended that the stems be cut back each year to encourage an increase in tuber size, not to mention more exuberant foliar growth. Some growers use a low nitrogen fertilizer in the spring; some never use any sort of fertilizer - it's up to you. Propagation is easy from seed. I have heard that you can propagate from stem cuttings, but I haven't tried this.

Good growing! Sue


by Sue Haffner
Cactus Corner News Fresno C&SS

The cereoids are among those cacti that tend to be a specialty interest among cactus growers. One reason may be that many of them tend to grow too large to be easily accommodated in a pot, or in a small greenhouse, and a lot of them don't bloom until they get quite big.

There are, however, some that stay small and bloom readily. Micranthocereus is one of these. Native to Brazil, the six or so species are columnar upright plants, reminiscent of Cleistocactus. The plants branch from the base (occasionally from higher up), the stems having numerous shallow ribs armed with fine sharp spines, and are mature at about 24'' tall. The areoles on the sides of the stems facing the strongest sunlight enlarge, grow very woolly, and eventually coalesce into a kind of lateral pseudo-caphalium. The blossoms emerge from this ``cephalium''.

The blossoms are diurnal, very small, tubular, and brightly colored, reminiscent of flowers pollinated by hummingbirds. (``Micrantha'' means small flowers.) Colors range from red, orange, and yellow through pink and purple, are sometimes bi-colored with the bright color on the outer petals and yellow or white inside. The fruits are small juicy berries, red to purple to brown.

The type species, M. polyanthus, was described in 1933 as Cephalocereus polyanthus. Five years later Backeberg erected the genus Micranthocereus, and subsequent explorations have added additional species. Currently, the following species are listed: auri-azureus, flaviflorus, flaviflorus ssp densiflorus, polyanthus, streckeri, violaciflorus. The taxonomists are always at work with the cereoids, it seems, and it is likely that this list will be lengthened (or transferred to other names!)

Culture is not difficult. These plants can take bright, hot conditions, and should be watered generously during the growing season. Like Cleistocacti, they can exhibit tip die-back if not enough water is given. They can tolerate winter temperatures near to freezing, as long as they are kept dry. Propagation is from seeds or cuttings.


Notocactus, Oops Sorry Parodia
By Kim Hamilton
Western Suburbs Cactus Club Journal (Australia)

Having trouble finding the genus Notocactus in your Cacti and Succulent books? Well all the votes are in and whether you like it or not the genus Notocactus is no longer. All Notocactus species are now Parodia's. Parodia also includes the following genera: Malacocarpus, Brasilicactus, Eriocactus, Wigginsia and Brasiliparodia, Parodia now includes 66 species. Regardless of the generic name they remain some of the easiest cacti to grow, and therefore make a great plant for beginners. Theyrequire all the right levels of light, water, etc, but will not turn up their toes as quickly as some other genera.

Parodia was established in 1923 by Carlos Spegazzini with the name acknowledging the work of the Argentinean botanist L.R Parodia. They have a distribution of Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina & Bolivia. The plants themselves are small, round to later cylindrical plants with distinct ribs. Flowers are from the apex of the plant, usually funnel shaped and often self fertile, and are produced freely in Spring and Summer. The following combinations have been made;

Notocactus claviceps == Parodia schumanniana ssp claviceps

Notocactus haselbergii == Parodia haselbergii ssp haselbergii

Notocactus herteri == Parodia herteri

Notocactus horstii == Parodia horstii

Notocactus leninghausii == Parodia leninghausii

Notocactus magnificus == Parodia magnifica

Notocactus mammulosus == Parodia mammulosa ssp mammulosa

Notocactus ottonis == Parodia ottonis ssp ottonis

Notocactus schlosseri == Parodia erubescens

Notocactus scopa == Parodia scopa ssp scopa

Notocactus uebelmannianus == Parodia werneri ssp werneri

This is not all the combinations that have been made, but contains most of the plants you will find in collections.

Following are some brief descriptions of some of the easier to grow species that are ideal for the beginner.

Parodia erubescens (Notocactus schlosseri)

Transferred to Parodia in 1997 by David Hunt. Plants are solitary, short up to about 20 cm high, with red spines. Flowers are yellow to 5 cm in diameter. This is an easy plant to cultivate> and will usually flower within 3 to 5 years. Native to Uruguay.

Parodia haselbergii ssp haselbergii

Transferred to Parodia in 1982 by F.H Brandt. A very popular plant with orange red flowers in Spring. Plants are usually solitary, bright green with white areoles and spines. The crown of the plant is usually set at an angle to prevent watersitting. This plant has been classified in the following genera over the past few years:

Malacocarpus, Brasilicactus. Lets hope it stays where it is now. It was originally described as Echinocactus haselbergii in 1885. Native to Brazil.

Parodia herteri (Notocactus herteri)

Transferred to Parodia in 1987 by David Hunt. Plants are usually solitary, globose to 15 cm wide. The crown of the plant has woolly areoles and is spineless. Flowers purple to red, and 4 cm in diameter. Originally described as Echinocactus herteri in 1936. Native to Brazil & Uruguay.

Parodia horstii (Notocactus horstii)

Transferred to Parodia in 1987 by David Hunt. Plants are usually solitary, globose to cylindrical to 30 cm high & 14 cm in diameter. The crown of the plant is covered in spiny white wool. Flowers are orange-yellow to 3.5 cm in diameter. Native to Brazil.

Parodia leninghausii (Notocactus leninghausii)

Transferred to Parodia in 1982 by Brandt. Plants body columnar, with an angled crown, up to 1m tall and 10 cm in diameter. This plant will start to cluster from the base of the plant with age. Spines are golden and bristly. Flowers are pure yellow and about 6 cm in diameter, with flowering occurring in Spring to late Summer. Initially this plant was included in Pilocereus in 1895, and has over the years been in the genera Malacocarpus & Eriocactus.

Parodia magnifica (Notocactus maginifcus)

Transferred to Parodia in 1982 by Brandt. Plant body globular, bluish-green and forms large clumps freely with age. The spines are yellowish and bristle like along the distinct ribs. Flowers are yellow to 5 cm in diameter, mainly in Spring, although spot flowering occurs during Autumn. Earlier described as Eriocactus magnificus 1966. Native of Brazil & Uruguay.

Parodia scopa ssp scopa (Notocactus scopa) Transferred to Parodia in 1987 by David Hunt.

An attractive plant with the body up to 25 cm high and 10 cm wide, globular in shape. The areoles are white and woolly and bear whitish spines which completely cover the plant. The flowers arise from the crown and are canary yellow with red stigma's. There are several sub-species of Parodia scopa recognised. For more information refer to the December 2001 British Cactus & Succulent Journal, which is in our club library. The plant was originally described as Cactus scopa in 1825, and over the years was also included in Malacocarpus. Native to Brazil and Uruguay.

Parodia werneri ssp werneri (Notocactus uebelmannianus)

Transferred to Parodia in 1998 by Hofacker. Solitary globular plant, that looks like it has been flattened, to 17 cm in diameter. Dark green body with a groove beneath each areole position. The greyish white spines are flattened back against the plant ribs. The flowers are red to deep magenta and 5 cm in diameter. Was originally described as Notocactus in 1968. Native to Brazil.


Anderson, E (2001) The Cactus Family.

Hunt, David (1999) CITES Cactaceae Checklist.


Hard Water In Las Vegas
By Stan Korabell
The Beaver Tale C&SS of Southern Nevada

Because of the HARD WATER in our area I find lime buildup in my pots, even if they have been in use for only a short period. Cleaning them is a frequent chore. I try to clean them as soon as I transfer a plant to another, usually larger, pot so I have clean pots available. The greatest reward to me of the hobby is looking at my plants. A clean, neat container certainly enhances the experience.

Pumice stick - my most effective cleanser
Toothbrush - use is good
Paintbrush - small - one or two inch - so you can get into small spaces
Lint free rags - clean

Phosphoric acid prep - Lime away, CLR, Shower Power, or similar proprietary. This may bleach the glaze on some pots, so test first. Follow cautionary statements, usually on the container.
Water Sealer - Thompson's Water Seal or similar product.
Mineral Oil - mineral only, not even extra virgin.
Tap water - For rinsing.

Rinse the pot thoroughly to remove all soil, grit, etc.. Rub the pumice stick over any mineral deposits and get off as much as possible. If any deposits remain apply vigorously with the toothbrush. Use the pumice stick again. You will have removed most or all of the deposits. Repeat these steps until you're satisfied with the results. Rinse and dry the pot.

If you're working with clay pots or ceramic pots with unglazed areas, apply the water sealer with a brush. Do not apply the water sealer to the glaze. Let the sealer ``set'' - when it stops being tacky it is ready for use. This will make it easier to remove future mineral buildup.

For unglazed and plastic pots add a finishing touch with a light application of mineral oil to the exterior, wipe off any excess and now you're good to go.

Thanks to Maury and Carol Clapp for clueing me in on Water Seal.