Cactaceae

is TV. nidus, whose crown of interwoven, curling, bristle-like spines is fancifully compared to a bird's nest. The spines can be any shade from white through buff and bright yellow to black, and other hues. A pressing recommendation goes to TV. wagenknechtii (16.26), which begins to open its rings of small but brilliant magenta blooms in October and continues for weeks: a fine splash of colour when few other cacti are performing. Typical Neoporteria flowers remain only half open; those of Notocactus open right out flat (rotate), and this genus also is differentiated by seed structure. It comes from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina and has 30 species or more. The usually large yellow flowers appear near the centre of the crown; TV. uebelmanttianus has either yellow or purple blooms, and in TV. graessneri they are lime green. To the old favourites like TV. ottonis and TV. lening-hausii have been added many marvellous recent discoveries: TV. magnificus, TV. herteri, TV. buiningii and others.

Parodia (16.45) differs from thé preceding in having some, at least, of the spines hooked, but there are exceptions. The seeds are very minute. All are beauties, but some have a tendency to lose their roots and need careful coaxing to get them started again. This is therefore a genus best left to the more experienced cultivator. Frailea and Bloss-feldia are real miniatures—the latter is the smallest of all cacti. A Frailea flower is a rare sight; mostly the species are cleistogamous and all one sees is the relatively large fruit full of seeds. Uebel-mannia is a new star gleaming bright in collections: it is credited with five or more species, of which the most remarkable is

U. pectinifera (16.27). The deep purple stems have many sharp ribs covered in silvery scales, and the areoles are so close together that the fine spines form a crest or comb along the ribs. Like Parodia, these are not plants for the beginner.

Cactinae

The two genera placed in this subtribe are not closely related. The stems are solitary and globose or flat-topped, and the flowers originate from a central cephalium. In Discocactus the flowers are quite large, white, beautifully moulded and with a delicate perfume, opening after dusk and wilted by the next morning. In Melocactus (16.28) the cephalium is much more prominent and hemispherical or even cylindrical. The flowers and fruits are like those of Mammillaria, quite small, and push out through the dense brush of

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