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Barrel Cactus  Cholla Cactus  Pincushion Cactus Mystery Cactus

cactus/giant-saguaro.jpgaz/saguaro-03.jpgThe Saguaro Carnegiea gigantea is not the largest of cacti even though it is called the giant cactus. It has white, waxy flowers that are held like delicate garlands on long, outstretched, and often contorted limbs, flowers unsurpassed for exquisiteness of design. It’s natural habitat is southern Arizona. It has a strong supporting cylindrical core of rods extending to its full height, joined by succulent tissue on the inside as well as outside. Their sculpturesque forms tower from 40 to 50 feet. The rods support the tremendous weight of the plant throughout its life, a worthy feat considering that an adult saguaro will weight as much as 10 to 15 tons. The spines of the plant are of two kinds. For its first 50 to 60 years it bears heavy, reddish-brown spines that eventually weather to a dull black. On reaching flowering age, or maturity, the new spines are more flexible yellow needlelike bristles, densely felted at the base.

Below are some pictures taken by Paige, they are of a twenty plus foot saguaro in a yard in Phoenix. It fell over, because of an unusual amount of rain. It had a base "trunk" and two "bunny" ears fall off the top. With the weight of the water, it just got too heavy and fell. It does have black like mold inside of the joint, possibly from the over abundance of rain. Thanks Paige for allowing us to share your pictures, unfortunately it did not recover.

cactus/broken_cactus.jpg cactus/cactus_trunk.jpg cactus/close-up_of_inside.jpg

Barrel Cactus!

Saguaro Cactus Cholla Cactus Pincushion Cactus Mystery Cactus

cactus/arizona-barrel.jpgAt right the Arizona Barrel Ferocactus Wislizenii. The barrel cactus is well suited for life in the desert, the woody core of the stem is 1 to 3 inches in diameter. The swollen cortex surrounding it may be several inches thick. It has a tough parchment like epidermis of strong ribbed stem and is heavily waxed to prevent the escape of moisture. Brightly colored spines further decrease evaporation by cutting off 20 per cent of the sunlight and raising the humidity in the shaded area between the spines. Young plants are spherical while more mature plants are cylindrical, growing as high as 8 feet and up to 2 feet in diameter. Some of the flowers on a barrel cactus are 3 inches across and range in colors from yellow to dark red. They have a crown of flowers worn to give a regal look. They generally bloom in July through September. Most barrel cactus lean toward the southwest and therein they have earned the common name of compass cactus. During a good rainy season a barrel cactus can absorb and store enough water to last during years of drought. The growth of barrel cactus is very slow.

cactus/little-barrel.jpgAt left the Little Barrel Sclerocactus Whipplei.

cactus/coville_barrel.jpgThis Coville's Barrel Ferocactus Covillei is native to the Sonora Desert and south western Arizona. It has a hooked central spine and straight radial spines on the areole, which is fuzzy. They have habit of leaning toward the southwest and that has earned them another common name of compass cactus. They also have a tough parchment like epidermis of strongly ribbed stem and is heavily waxed to prevent the escape of moisture. They are slow growing as are all barrel cactus and as elongated youth they can be mistaken for Saguaros.

cactus/barrel-5b.jpgcactus/barrel-7a.jpgThis Arizona barrel Ferocactus Wislizenii is blooming after four days of 100+ temperature and it's only May. The habit of a leaning toward the sun is believed to be caused by the more rapid evaporation on the side facing the sun, bringing about a state of "incipient drying" in the walls of the cell tissues. Cell growth is retarded as it loses water faster than it can absorb the water. This one is in a pot and gets moved around now, it will soon be in the ground and will probably lean as time goes on.

This new pup came from a barrel that is about 2 foot across and has beautiful red flowers. It's well adjusted to our weather as the mom has grown up here in the mountain area for almost 15 years. Received 3 pups so will be nice to see it grow in our garden, although this one is now inside in a pot. More pictures as it progresses.

Cholla Cactus!

Barrel Cactus Saguaro Cactus Pincushion Cactus Mystery Cactus

cactus/jumping-cholla.jpgThe Cholla cactus, it is pronounced "choya" and is a Spanish word meaning head-shaped. It is a distinguished by cylindrical joints and often the branches and joints are shaped in the form of a human head, thus the name. At right is a jumping Cholla Opuntia Bigelovii it is the most dangerous cactus that man or animal can encounter in the desert. The jumping Cholla spines will penetrate the toughest hide at the least touch. The Kangaroo rat uses the fallen joints to build his home, sometimes piling the mounds of debris 3 to 4 feet high and 7 to 8 feet across. How the kangaroo rat accomplishes this is one of the mysteries of the desert. A jumping Cholla’s habit of dropping its joints, seem to have as its objective the conservation of moisture and the desire to reproduce vegetatively. These flowers are nearly the same in color whitish with green centers. The spine cluster is three pronged and barbed. Its flowers often remain unopened on the plant for years, with the newer flowers being the largest ones. They seldom have a chance to germinate. The plants can grow as high as 12 feet.

cactus/cane-cholla.jpgAt left is the Cane Cholla Opuntia Spinosior .These cactus are openly branched with distinct treelike appearance, and grow as tall as 10 feet.

cactus/staghorn-cholla.jpgOther members of this family are the Staghorn Cholla Opuntia Versicolor. They are more intricately branched, forming denser crowns, and bearing green and purplish fruit. They come in a variety of colors from the palest yellow to green to the deepest reds. There finely barbed spines are uneven in length, ranging from ¼ to 1 inch in length. The lacy wood inner core, or woody skeleton is used by craftsmen for furniture, novelties and picture frames. I use them in macramé projects. The fruit is used in fixing a dye known in native arts as cochineal dye. They bloom usually during June and July.

cactus/candleabrum.jpgAt left is the Candelabrum Cactus Opuntia Imbricat. Its branches are arranged in the manner of a giant, ornamental candlestick. Its specific name means overlapping, like shingles, and refers to the overlapping tubercles that almost cover the surface of the joints. It is tree like and grows to 3 to 8 feet tall.


This Cholla is a new one just added to our collection in the spring of 1999, as a purchase from the Fresno Cactus and Succulent Association's spring show and plant swap. I forgot to get the names of my new cacti.

cactus/cholla2.jpgAnother mystery Cholla cactus it is an Opuntia can't be more "specific" this one has fuzzy spines that will get all over you and it also is a new one, I received it at a show in Fresno, CA!!

cactus/cholla1.jpgThis is a mystery cactus is an Opuntia, can't be more "specific" it has been in my garden for a long time and grows very slowly there.

cactus/cane_cholla2.jpgcactus/cactusMay030.jpg This appears to be a cane cholla cactus Optunia spinosior, they are noted for their grotesque shapes and exquisitely colored flowers, This one blends from cream to pink.

cactus/cane-9bud.jpg cactus/cane-9.jpg This cane or cholla was a gift that continues to show off more and more, it came without a name or any other information and has been a welcome addition to our collection.

cactus/cane-12.jpgThis cane cholla Opuntia spinosior is tree like in form the flowers bloom early here in May and June. It's lacy, wooden skeleton, like that of other cholla is used in the manufacturing of novelty furniture and picture frames, we use it in making macramé projects. It has fruit from both this year and last year on it.

Have had this cane for 20 years, this is the first time it has ever bloomed.

Pincushion Cactus!

Barrel Cactus  Saguaro Cactus  Cholla Cactus  Mystery Cactus

Should a cactus fancier grow only Mammillarias, he would have a never-ending source of variety and interest. They constitute a large genus of cacti, more than 150 species, with enormous differences in spines, color and growth habit. Some have a single rounded stem, others form large clusters; the stems may be covered with long white hairs, soft or stiff spines, even hooks. What is common to all Mammillarias is that they have no ribs but bear protuberances on the stems with spines on their tips. Flowers, produced in spring and summer, usually form garlands around the tops of the stems. White, yellow, pink and magenta are the commonest colors. Flowers are followed by shiny red fruit that may remain on the plants for many months. Most Mammillarias flower when they are young; seed-grown plants blossom in four to five years. As windowsill plants, most are ornamental even when they are not in flower, are easy to grow and remain small.

cactus/snowball.jpgThis is the Snowball Cactus Mammillaria Oliviae, it is a type of Pincushion Cactus, which is any small globular or cylindrical cactus having numerous pin like spines. Those with hooks at the ends are also called "fishhook cacti." They are numerous and so distantly related that they have been divided into several groups the largest group is the genus Mammillaria. The snowball pincushion is one of the gems of this group. It has blue-green, flat-topped spherical stems about 3 inches thick, which are covered with tiny white spines. Pink flowers 3/4 inch long appear in early summer.

cactus/mexican-pincushion.jpgThis is the Mexican Pincushion Mammillaria Magnimamma

cactus/millers-pincushion.jpgThis is Miller’s Pincushion Mammillaria Microcarpa var. Milleria

cactus/pin_cushion.jpg cactus/pin_cushion_4s.jpgcactus/pin_cushion-30c.jpgPincushion Cactus Mammillaria Scheidweilerana has deep pink flowers that will set with seed pods. As shown in the photo at the left. The flowers are set deep in between the spines as shown in the middle. The seed pods are very long when taken from this plant.

cactus/pinal-pincushion.jpgAt right is the Pinal Pincushion Mammillaria Wilcoxii

cactus/fishhook.jpgFishhook Cactus Mammillaria Microcarpa has little candy striped flowers of lavender, red or pink that form a circle near the top of the stems in April and then again in August. They can bloom anytime between February to October. The cylindrical stems are about 4 inches high and are studded with nipple like tubercles. At the tips of the tubercles are spines that radiate like spokes in a wheel, but sometimes form star like clusters. The plants sometimes consist of three or more stems, but generally are only one.

cactus/mam_bravo.jpgcactus/mam_bravo_bud.jpgThis cactus is new to our collection it is a Mammillaria bravoe cactus. It will be interesting to see the flowers on this cactus. It has decided to bloom in October and November with tiny little cream colored flowers. This has been a very nice surprise.

This is new one to our collection it is Mammilaria Gracilis.

cactus/common-pincushion.jpgThis is the Common Pincushion Coryphantha vivpara var. aggreata or "Rising Biscuits". The Coryphantha are top-flowering and are referred to as "Rising Biscuits" usually flatten out in winter from dehydration, but after a rain they swell and rise into mounds of small globes. They are globular and studded with tubercles spirally arranged. Each cluster of thirty to forty needlelike spines that completely hide the plant body. They have pink to lavender flowers in late May and June.

cactus/arizona-pincushion.jpgThis is the Arizona Pincushion Cactus Coryphantha vivpara var. Arizonica. They generally bloom during June. This small-growing species is widely distributed throughout the central United States. The northern forms of this plant are winter hardy, even into Canada. It requires good light and regular watering during summer with a dry, cold winter rest period. It bears fringed, fragrant flowers in midsummer.

images/yllow_pincushion.jpgA Yellow Pincushion cactus Notocactus haselbergii is a cylindrical cactus and has numerous pin like spines. They are a compact, white-spined species requiring a sunny location and average soil with moderate watering in summer this one has more yellow flowers than is normal. This plant needs a long, dry winter rest to ensure flowering, but like slight warmth. All Notocactus are good houseplants, flowering readily without elaborate care.

images/pincushion.jpgThis Pincushion Notocactus is a beauty that grows in pots outside, inside, and in our garden it's beautiful yellow flowers last days. It is some kind of pincushion, it genus is, I'm told, Notocactus. It has a crown of flowers. It has a central spine circled by tubercles, the radial spines are all connected to the areole, and completely hide the plant. Pincushion cacti live up to their name when they are young, forming clumps of handsome globular plants 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches across. As they become older, however, they stretch upward, becoming cylindrical in shape. All are easy to grow on a window sill. This one has yellow flowers.

cactus/lemon.jpgThis is a Lemon Donut Notocactus Graessneri it only grows to a height of 4" and has 3/4" long yellow-green flowers in the spring. It likes fresh air, filtered or direct sunlight and to be drenched thoroughly when dry. It's spines are red in color and some are as long as one half inch. The flower are on the top of this night blooming cactus.

cactus/sun.jpg cactus/sun_bud.jpgThe Sun cup Notocactus Apricus likes fresh air, direct sunlight and is easy to grow. It likes to be drenched thoroughly when dry and produces beautiful yellow flowers whose center is unique. It's central spine is red surrounded by white straight spines. The top of this one is now loaded with buds and flowers that are slowly blooming, three blooms at a time. There is also a baby sneaking out at the base.

cactus/noto_cactus.jpgThis Ball Cactus Notocactus roseoluteus likes full sun and is easy to grow. Allow the soil to dry out between watering, and it enjoys cool temperature of between 45 - 65 F. It is suggested that watering be done every two weeks, and this would depend on the humidity where it is grown. We've waited to add the picture when it blooms, and hope that will be soon. It appeared ready to bloom and we are still waiting. Other pictures are not worth posting.

cactus/yellow2.jpgThis little plant bloomed for the first time in 2000 and has the most delicate yellow flowers. It's the middle of May and our temperatures today are in the 100's. It open during the night and it lasted only until noon. The bud shown in this picture opened the following night. Such big beautiful flowers for such a small cactus.


cactus/notocactus_leninghausii.jpg This cactus has yellow spines and a skewed top, it could be Golden Torch Cactus Notocactus leninghausii, it has grown to a height of at least 12 inches tall, it has never bloomed. Just recently after many years it has begun to produce babies. They are starting to circle the bottom of the plant. Thanks for identifying it for me Steve. After many years in 2011 it has bloomed. It is one of the pups. Wow it was worth the wait.

Mystery Cactus!

Barrel Cactus  Saguaro Cactus  Cholla Cactus Pincushion Cactus

These are cacti we have that have no name or any other identification on them to know what they are. If we find out their names we will put that up here also.

cactus/mystery10.jpgThis little mystery cactus is probably a type of pincushion, when it blooms the pictures will be added.

cactus/mystery7.jpgThis is also another pincushion.

cactus/little.jpgcactus/little_flower.jpgThis is a very small cactus that has been blooming in spring and summer almost continuously, since receiving it. Although I received it in a 2" pot and it came with no name, I moved it into a large pot. This close-up of the flower on this cactus is probably larger than the actual flower. It is the same cactus shown at left. After blooming almost constantly for two years, the center, larger cactus has died and the babies are getting bigger to take it's place. We've heard that some cactus bloom so much they wear them selves out, but this is our first experience with this actually happening.

cactus/mystery3.jpgI have no idea what this cactus is either, another mystery plant, it laid over a few years ago and started producing babies like crazy. It's pretty mother was about 7 inches tall when it just lay over and started baby production. It has never bloomed.

cactus/mystery4.jpgI have no idea what this cactus is either, another mystery plant, it grows quite tall, although this one is very young and it has never bloomed.

cactus/fuzzy_bud.jpg This is a ball or barrel cactus with a fuzzy white top to it. It's name I don't know.

Barrel Cactus   Cholla Cactus   Christmas Cactus
Desert Cactus Cultivation   Epiphyllum  Hedgehog Cactus   Hybrid Cactus
Mystery Cactus   Night Blooming Cactus   Pincushion Cactus
Prickly Pear Cactus   Saguaro Cactus   Succulents   Sunrise Cactus


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Last updated 5/25/2011


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