Echinopsidinae

Hunt's classification lays stress on the presence of hairs and narrow scales on the outside of the flower tube as distinguishing this subtribe from the preceding, with habit taking second place, so we again have a mixture of columnar and dwarf species, sometimes within one genus. Starting with the tall-growing types, Espostoa, Haageocereus, Cleisto-caclus and Borzicactus (16.15) are worth considering even for a small collection because of the beauty of their stems, with

Lett (16.13): Echinocereus knippelianus is one ol the smaller growing species, and rarely offsets. This one comlortably tills an 8cm (3% in) pot. Notice the small, weak spines.

Below (16.14): Echinocereus triglochidiatus inermis in habitat in Colorado, a rare unarmed mutant ot the species which is normally heavily spined It is a collector's curio.

spines in various colours and designs. Most of them grow stiffly erect, but Haageocereus decumbens is best suspended so that its curling stems can hang over the pot. Espostoas are superb as seedlings: E. lanata. E. melanostele and E. senilis have the green stem concealed beneath snow-white bristles and hair. Cleistocactus strausii is another justly popular all-white plant: the tubular red flowers are unremarkable and borne on tall stems. Several Haageocerei and Borzicacli have golden yellow spines, as for instance B. aureispinus (8.5). Most need to be 50cm (20in) or more tall before they begin to bloom, but B. sexlonianus is a delightful miniature with chains of stem joints only 3cm (1 Vjin) long but flowers as large as those of the columnar species. Generally these plants do better if kept on the warm side in winter. Borzicactus includes a number of globular cacti formerly segregated as Matucana. These are doubly welcome in collections, their showy, oblique flowers appearing in

summer and early autumn. B. madison-iorum loses its few. weak spines at maturity and looks more like Lophophora (16.34).

Oroya includes neat, depressed globose cacti from high in the Andes, which form rings of small, usually yellowish orange flowers a round the stem apex (16.17). O. borchersii, with sturdy, golden brown spines, is the showiest.

In Echinopsis we have a large genus of both dwarf (16.16) and tall columnar species with funnel-shaped, often very large blooms (4.11), which are frequently white, nocturnal and scented, but occasionally coloured. The genus now includes species formerly classified as Tricho-cereus (tall columnar). Helianthocereus (short columnar). A ca n thoca lycium (globular) and others. The nearly spherical species include many veteran favourites of European glasshouses: K eyriesii. E. tubiflora. E. oxygona and others, all long-suffering, long-lived, and rewarding the grower annually with superb large trumpet-shaped blooms. They have been Lett{ 16. 17): Oroya peruviana depressa.Oroya is one ol several South American genera enjoying popularity and easily adapting to cultivation. The stem is typically unbranched

BelowCI6.18J: Rebutia neosteinmannii. Rebutias are the ideal miniature cacti tor the beginner with limited space and a thirst lor dazzling Howers every year f unfairly overlooked in the rush for the latest novelties. Together with the equally tough and columnar E. spachiana (16.1) and E. lamprochlora. they provide some of the best grafting stocks. No cacti are easier to raise from cuttings or offsets, which in the dwarf species often root while still attached to the parent plant. E. pachanoi contains hallucinogenic alkaloids and has long been used in religious ceremonies in Peru, as has Lophophora in parts of Mexico (page 18).

With Lobivia and Rebutía we come to two of the most popular of all genera of cacti, and it is hard to imagine a collection without them. Both are small to very small, compact and neat in habit but sufficiently varied tobe interesting all the year round. Lobivia has the larger flowers, in dazzling reds and yellow (16.19). Rebutía produces greater profusion in rings from around the base of each head, and the colour range includes white, pink, orange and magenta (16.18,20,21).

Some flower in two years from seed, which is easy to raise. These are the perfect cacti to offer a beginner who insists upon flowers and is limited to a small space on a sunny windowsill. I purposely forgo listing species names: all are desirable, and it is merely a matter of personal choice.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

You Might Just End Up Spending More Time In Planning Your Greenhouse Than Your Home Don’t Blame Us If Your Wife Gets Mad. Don't Be A Conventional Greenhouse Dreamer! Come Out Of The Mould, Build Your Own And Let Your Greenhouse Give A Better Yield Than Any Other In Town! Discover How You Can Start Your Own Greenhouse With Healthier Plants… Anytime Of The Year!

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment