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CACTUS
 
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CACTUS
Apple Cactus, Column Cactus, Peruvian Apple Cereus peruvianus, C. hildmannianus, C. uruguayanus, C. peruvianus monstrosa
This cactus is wonderful and would make an idea center plant in the garden. I think it would look best with a bit of room so it can really show off. It will grow to be at least 12 feet tall as it is in the photograph below on the right.
From: Middle South America
Photographed: In the Carlos Thays Botanical Garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Text and Photographs ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2011

 
Arborescent Prickly Pear, Aaron's Beard Cactus, Semaphore Cactus Opuntia leucotricha
  Benefits:
From:
Mexico
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014
 

Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Barrel Cactus, Golden Barrel Cactus, Golden Ball, Mother-in-Law's-Cushion Echinocactus grusonii Hildm.
Sadly this beautiful cactus is critically endangered in the wild. Its beauty will save it in gardens and planters, but it seems a shame that it is relegated to having only such a life.
Benefits:
From:
Central Mexico

Planting and Care: The barrel cactus will grow to be about a yard wide and tall, but only after many years. Imagine it won't even flower until it is 20 years old. To be happy give it a dry winter with no frost, full sun and light watering.
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2012

Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.

Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Photographed: In the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney, Australia, in 2013.

 
Blue Barrel Cactus
  Benefits:
From:

Photographed:   In the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney, Australia, 2013.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2013
 

Bishop's Cap Cactus, Bishop's Hat or Bishop's Miter Cactus Astrophytum myriostigma
With a little luck this beauty will grow to be as much as 8" wide and 40" tall. Because of its appearance is it a favorite in cactus collections. It does flower, but I wouldn't be holding my breath.
Benefits:
From:
Northeastern and central mountainous areas of Mexico
Planting and Care: It comes from hot dry areas of Mexico where there is a rainy season only in the summer months. Hence be careful of overwatering and keep it in the sun and as warm as possible.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2015

With my gratitude, my cactus mystery #2 was identified by Richard L., a visitor to the site.

Photographed: In the Botanical Garden in Naples, Italy.


Photographed: In the Carlos Thays Botanical Garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

 
**Brazilian Pricklypear Brasiliopuntia Brasiliensis -Cuija
In my experience this is a relatively fast growing and easy to care for cactus. It seems to be very healthy and to roll with both dry and rainy seasons without noticeably acting up. It is a lovely plant.
Benefits:
From:
Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Peru
Photographed: In my garden at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala in 2013.
Planting and Care: I have mine growing in a semi shady area and it seems to be doing just fine. I highly doubt that it would be frost hardy.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

Former mysteries 120 and 120a were solved by Samantha B. in Georgia.

Brazilian Pricklypear in Bloom

 
Cane Cactus, Coral Cactus Austrocylindropuntia cylindrica (Lam.)
Benefits:
From:
Ecuador and Peru
Photographed: In the Botanical Garden in Palermo, Sicily, in Italy in 2012.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014
 

Cinnamon Cactus, Bunny Ears Cactus, Bunny Cactus, Polka-dot Cactus Opuntia microdasys var. rufida and many many synonyms
Benefits:
From:
Northern areas of Mexico or Texas
Photographed: In the Carlos Thays Botanical Garden in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

Cleistocactus xylorhizus No common name yet
  Benefits:
From:
Peru
Photographed: In Parque de la Leyendas, Lima, Peru, in 2013.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

Copiapoa-cinerea-purpurea No Common Name Yet
This is a slow growing cactus that will in good conditions reach a size of about 3 feet tall.
 
Benefits:
From:
Northern Chile
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care: This beauty grows in an area of northern Chile which is especially dry though it does receive morning and evening thick ocean fog. In summer, water when dry and plant it in an area of the garden that does not get hot afternoon sun. In its native environment, its light gray color provides it with some protection from hot sun.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

Coral Cactus
Easter Cactus, Spring Cactus, Whitsun Cactus Schlumbergera gaertneri and syn. Hatiora gaertneri
More often than not these pretty bloomers are sold in hanging pots where their stems and flowers are shown at their best.
Benefits:
From:
Brazil
Photographed: In the Botanical Garden at the Hotel Atitlan on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Planting and Care: In nature these are epiphytic plants. Reproducing those conditions will net you the happiest plant -- semi shade and evenly moist organically rich slightly acidic soil and, if grown indoors, it will love a daily light spritzing of water. Luckily they are pretty flexible so they will look good without having the perfect situation.
Text & Photograph ©KO 2010, ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2018
 
Easter Lily Cactus, Sea Urchin Cactus Trichocereus thelagonus
This is an attractive and very peculiar sort of cactus as it has a penchant for lying down on the job and its branches can become up to seven feet long. It is in the cereus family so it also has fabulous night blooming flowers in the summer.
Benefits:
From:
South America
Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy.
Planting and Care: This cactus likes to grow in full sun in well drained soil. For moisture, it prefers an infrequent drenching. It is tolerant of a little bit of cold, but it doesn't really like it if it can be avoided.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2012
 
Engelmann's Hedgehog Cactus, Strawberry Hedgehog Cactus Echinocereus engelmannii
Benefits: None that I've found so far except for the beauty of its flower.
From:
The southwestern USA and Northern Mexico
Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy.
Planting and Care: This plant grows in full sun on rocky and sandy slopes in dry desert regions. It has some cold tolerance and prefers a little more water than true desert plants.
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2012/2018
 
 
EUPHORBIAS
**Candelabra Cactus Euphorbia candelabrum or Euphorbia lactea
Sometimes growing to as much as 15 feet, the candelabra cactus is a sharply spined, thick branching variety. Every year the candelabra cactus beside our front door became home to a banana quit family. These lovely sweet tiny little birds love the candelabra for some reason. Maybe it offers them protection from predators.
From:
Planting and Care:
As cactus go, the candelabra is relatively fast growing and very easy to care for. Give it a warm weather climate, lots of sun and a moderate amount of water and it will be off and running. They are very attractive plants and make great centerpieces for a cactus garden.
Text & Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2004/2010 and ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2015.

Photographed: In its early years in our front border garden at our former home in Montserrat.

Photographed: In its early years in our front border garden at our former home in Montserrat.

 

Photographed: In the Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.

Photographed: In Parque de la Leyendas, Lima, Peru, in 2013.

Photographed in Crown Point, Tobago, in 2017
 
Candelabra Plant, Elkhorn Euphorbia lactea cristea
Oddly enough this peculiar looking cactus is a relative of the candelabra cactus above and it shares many of the same characteristics. It is poisonous and the white sap that oozes from any wound is said to be especially irritating as well. I have not found that to be particularly true of the many candelabras we have growing in our garden in Montserrat.
From: India
Photographed: In the city of Oaxaca, Mexico, 2009.
Planting and Care: Give this family of plants full sun or as much sun as possible. Water sparingly and they will all do just fine.
Text & Photograph Copyrighted ©KO 2009
 
Euphorbia avasmontana No Common Name Yet
  Benefits:
From:
Namibia
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014
 
 
Euphorbia handiensis No Common Name Yet
  Benefits:
From:

Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014
 

 
Euphorbia knuthii No Common Name Yet
  Benefits:
From:
Mozambique
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014
 
Euphorbia-polycantha
Euphorbia-polycantha
 
 
 
Fishbone Cactus, Moon Cactus, Zig Zag Cactus, Queen of the Night, Rickrack Cactus, Rick-Rack Orchid Cactus Epiphyllum anguliger
I bought this plant at the market at Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. It came home with me in its coke bottle pot and lived in my still fragile cactus garden. I didn't know until now that it is normally terrestrial, but it seemed okay on the ground. Its blossoms are said to be glorious.
Benefits: Other than its spectacular blooms, I haven't found any.
From: Mexico
Photographed:
Planting and Care: To be at its best, this plant should be in a hanging planter or placed securely in a tree where you can still care for it. Bright shade is probably best and routine watering during growing seaaon won't hurt either. Cut back on the water during the cool months.
Text ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014/2018
 
Galapagos Prickly Pear Opuntia galapageia
Benefits: This cactus provides food for many of the unique species of animals that live in the Galapagos Islands.
From: Ecuador's Galapagos Islands
Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy.
Planting and Care: These cactus largely grow in arid conditions and may be considered at risk in the Galapagos due to the large population of feral goats which have consumed them as food.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2018
 

Haageocereus acranthus No Common Name Yet
  Benefits:
From:

Photographed: In Parque de la Leyendas, Lima, Peru, in 2013.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

Mammillaria gracilis No Common Name Yet
From:
Mexico
Photographed: In the (Ortobotanico) Botanical Garden in Naples, Italy, in 2014.

 
Mammillaria spinosissima No Common Name Yet
Photographed:
In the (Ortobotanico) Botanical Garden in Naples, Italy, in 2014.
 

Mexican Pincushion Mammillaria magnimamamma
Benefits:
From:
Mexico
Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy.
Planting and Care: This 6" tall cactus is not for a home with a winter though it can take some cold. It is drought tolerant making it a great choice for a xeriscape garden.
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2012
 

Old Man Cactus, Old Man of Mexico, Cabeza de Viejo Cephalocereus senilis
This is one of those incredibly appealing cactus and it is lucky to be so because it is endangered in the wild. Its appeal means it will be maintained in Botanical and private gardens around the world.
From: Mexico
Photographed: In the Naples, Italy, Botanical Garden
Planting and Care: The Old Man likes full sun with a bit of shade in the hot afternoons. It will not tolerate temperatures below 50° F. Even during the summer months it does not require much water and will live on almost none in the winter. Plant it where it will have very good drainage. Given these basics, this cactus may grow to be 45 feet tall with girth of 1 1/2 feet. That is of course if you have a couple of hundred years to care for i
t.
Text and Photograph ©KO 2012

 

Old Man of the Andes Morawetzia sericata F. Ritter
Benefits:
From:
Central Peru
Photographed: In the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily, Italy.
Planting and Care: This hairy frost tolerant cactus likes to live in full sun with some afternoon shade in very hot places. It has beautiful flowers and will grow to be about 4 feet tall. It likes only light watering.
Text and Photograph ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2012

Peruvian Old Man Cactus, Cotton Ball Cactus, Snowball Cactus, Snowball Old Man Espostoa lanata (Kunth) Britton & Rose
Benefits: At one time its wooly hair was used to stuff pillows in Peru.
From: Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru
Photographed: All three photographs below were taken in the Palermo Botanical Garden in Sicily.
Planting and Care: This is an easy to grow plant that is cold hardy and will thrive in full sun in fertile well drained soil. Like most cactus it likes a cool dry winter. It will bloom in late spring and produce edible fruit if you are lucky.
Text and Photographs ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2012

 

Oreocereus pseudofossulatus No Common Name
Benefits:
From:
Bolivia
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care: This is most definitely a warm climate cactus liking it no cooler than 50° F, though it can handle temperatures as low as 20° F for short periods of time. Plant this beauty in full sun preferably where it will not be in hot afternoon sun.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

Parodia magnifica No Common Name
When happy the Parodia magnifica will grow to be from three to six inches tall and 18" wide with pale yellow flowers.
Benefits:
From:
Southern Brazil
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care: This is most definitely a warm climate cactus liking it no cooler than 50° F.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

Parodia warasii No Common Name
This little beauty produces large yellow flowers when happy and is beautiful even without blossoms.
Benefits:
From:
The southern most parts of South America -- Paraguay, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care: This is another of the warm climate plants that will not even tolerate weather in Florida. It likes well drained soil and regular rainfall or watering.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

**Prickly Pear Cactus, Indian Fig Opuntia, Barbury Fig, Cactus Pear, Nopal Cactus, Edible Tree Cactus, Mission Cactus Opuntia ficus-indica
       On the top left is the oval shaped spiny thin leaved branching cactus found in Montserrat, but also so common in Mexico. The leaves are scraped clean of their spines, cooked and eaten most deliciously in omelets.
      
The prickly pear cactus in the photo on the bottom left very closely resembles the one above, but its paddles are fat and more icy green in color. In Montserrat they are very subject to a wasting disease that didn't seem to affect our other cactus plants. The ice green prickly pear has chubby oval pads with lots of long sharp spines and will grow to between ten and fifteen feet tall.
Benefits:
In all of the small outlying villages we have visited in Mexico, the paddle shaped leaves of the nopal are believed to have a beneficial effect in controlling diabetes. They may also have a very important effect on cholesterol -- lowering the bad while leaving the good alone!

The fruit is said to be helpful in treating coughs. Carefully peel and wash the pears. Crush the fruit and mix it with honey and lemon or lime juice. Strain the mixture and take it in tablespoons as needed.
From: Probably Mexico
Fruits: Its fruits growing from red and yellow flowers are called tunas in Mexico; I think the English version is prickly pear. Handle these fruits carefully as they do have nasty very tiny spines.
Text and Photographs Copyrighted ©KO 2008 ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

Note: The "opuntia" seems to be a huge class of paddle shaped cactus plants. They are quite beautiful and very different from one another in growth, susceptibility to disease, hardiness and more. Still, I haven't been able to find good information on specific plants. They always seem lumped together as opuntia. If you have more information, please get in touch.

 

Photographed: In our border gardens at our former home in Montserrat.

 

Photographed: In our border gardens at our former home in Montserrat.

 

Photographed: In the Botanical Garden in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Photographed: In the Botanical Garden in Palermo, Sicily, Italy, 2012.

 

Photographed: On the roadside in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Photographed: On the roadside in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

 

Photographed: On the roadside in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

Photographed: On the roadside in Sicily, Italy, 2012.

 

Recipe: Tuna Margarita

Crush prickly pear fruits and push them through a sieve to remove the seeds. Add a squeeze of key lime, a few ice cubes and blend with tequila for a very Mexican margarita. We had this drink for the first time in Oaxaca, Mexico, at a tequila festival. We liked it then and we still do!

 
 
 
 
 
 

Purple Prickly Pear, Black-spined Prickly Pear, Long-spine Prickly Pear, Redeye Prickly Pear Opuntia macrocentra
As you can see in the photograph this is a colorful cactus and it has the added benefit of large appealing flowers and edible fruit. Who could ask for more?
Benefits:
From:
Arizona, New Mexico, Southwestern Texas, Northwestern Mexico and Baja California
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care: Always remember this is a cactus. Keep it in the sun and keep it relatively dry.
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

San Pedro Cactus Echinopsis pachanoi
This fast growing beauty will normally grow from 10 to twenty feet tall, but it has been seen at 40 feet which must be spectacular.
Benefits: Oddly enough the San Pedro Cactus is used not only for medicinal purposes in humans, but also in veterinary applications.
From:
South American countries in the Andes Mountains at a mile high
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care: The San Pedro adapts to areas with more rainfall than cactus usually like and it can handle lower temperatures than many other cactus. Try to plant it in an area that may get some shade from mid day sun in the hot summer season as the plant may actually become sun burned.
Text and Photographs Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

My Cactus/Succulent Mysteries 164A, 164B and 166 were all solved with the help of a friend on Twitter.

 

 

Teddy Bear Cholla Opuntia bigelovii, syn. Cylindropuntia bigelovii
Benefits:
From:
Northwestern Mexico and the American southwest
Photographed: At the Jardin de Cactus in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, Spain, in 2014.
Planting and Care:
Text and Photograph Copyrighted ©GreenGardeningCookingCuring.com 2014

 

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