Cactus Culture For Amateurs
W. Watson

Part 2 out of 4

the other will be sufficient to represent both. C. Lemairii was
introduced into England through Kew, whither a plant was sent in 1854
from the Royal Botanical Garden of Hanover, under the name of C.
rostratus. It blossoms in the Kew collection every June, the flowers
lasting for several hours after sunrise. Seeds are freely ripened by
this plant. Native of Antigua (?)

C. Macdonaldiae (Mrs. MacDonald's); Bot. Mag. 4707.--A magnificent
Cactus, producing flowers often 14 in. in diameter, with the same
brilliant colours as are described under C. Lemairii. The stems are
slender, cylindrical, not ridged or angled, bearing at irregular
intervals rather fleshy tubercles instead of spines, and branching
freely. Its flowers are produced on both young and old stems, several
crops appearing in the course of the summer when the treatment is
favourable. Roots are not so freely thrown out from the stems of this
kind, and as the latter are slender and very pliant, they may be trained
round a balloon trellis, so as to form handsome pot specimens, which,
when in flower, may be carried into the house, where their large,
beautiful flowers may be enjoyed. Writing of this species over thirty
years ago, Sir Wm. Hooker said: "Certainly, of the many floral
spectacles that have gratified lovers of horticulture at the Royal
Gardens, Kew, of late years, few have been more striking than this to
those who were privileged to see the blossoms in bud and fully expanded.
The plant was received from Honduras through the favour of Mrs.
MacDonald, and was planted at the back of the old Cactus-house, and
trained against a wall. It first showed symptoms of blossoming in July,
1851. A casual observer might have passed the plant as an unusually
large form of the 'night-blooming Cereus' (C. grandiflorus), but the
slightest inspection of the stems and flowers, the latter 14 in. in
diameter by 14 in. long, shows this to be a most distinct species."

C. Napoleonis (Napoleon's); Bot. Mag. 3458.--This is very like C.
grandiflorus, and is slightly and not very agreeably perfumed. The
flowers sometimes open very early in the morning and fade in the
afternoon, so that they may be enjoyed during the day-time. The flower
tube is 6 in. long, curved upwards, and clothed with rose-tinted scales,
which become gradually larger towards the top, where they widen out into
a whorl of greenish-yellow sepals, above which are the white petals
forming a broad shallow cup, 8 in. across, with a cluster of yellow
stamens in the centre. The stems are three-angled, light green, and bear
clusters of short stiff spines along the angles at intervals of 2 in.
Flowers in autumn. Mexico (?), 1835.

C. nycticalus (flowering at night); Fig. 15.--Stems four to six-angled,
2 in. wide, dark green, bearing little tufts of hair and thin white
spines along the angles, and a profusion of aerial roots. Flowers as
large as those of C. grandiflorus; tube covered with tufts of white
hairs; sepals or outer whorl of segments bright orange, the inner pure
white, and arranged like a cup. They open at about seven o'clock in the
evening, and fade at seven on the following morning. This plant may
still be met with in some old-fashioned gardens, but only rarely as
compared with its popularity a generation ago, when it was to be found
in almost every collection of stove plants. At that time, the flowering
of this Cactus was looked upon as an event, and it was customary for the
owner to invite his friends to meet and watch the development of the
flowers, and enjoy to the full their almost over-powering but delicious
fragrance. So bright are the colours of the flowers, that a sort of
luminosity seems to surround them when at their best. Flowers in autumn.
Mexico, 1834.

[Illustration: FIG. 15.--CEREUS NYCTICALUS.]

C. triangularis (three-angled); Bot. Mag. 1884.--This plant is easily
recognised because of its stout triangular stems, which increase at a
rapid rate and bear roots freely; by means of these roots they cling to
almost any substance with which they come in contact. There are large
examples of it in the Kew collection, where it bears numerous flowers
annually, which open in the evening and close at about eight o'clock
next morning. The flowers measure 1 ft. in length by about the same in
width of cup, and are composed of a whorl of long narrow green sepals,
with pale brown points, a cluster of pure white petals, bright yellow
stamens, and a large club-like stigma; they appear in autumn. Mexico.
This species was cultivated at Hampton Court in 1690.

C. speciosissimus (most beautiful).--Although not a night-flowering
kind, nor yet a climber, yet this species resembles in habit the above
rather than the columnar-stemmed ones. It is certainly the species best
adapted for cultivation in small greenhouses or in the windows of
dwelling-houses, as it grows quickly, remains healthy under ordinary
treatment, is dwarf in habit, and flowers freely--characters which,
along with the vivid colours and large size of the blossoms, render it
of exceptional value as a garden plant. Its stems are slender, and it
may be grown satisfactorily when treated as a wall plant. For its
cultivation, the treatment advised for Phyllocactuses will be found
suitable. When well grown and flowered it surpasses in brilliancy of
colours almost every other plant known. Specimens with thirty stems each
6 ft. high, and bearing from sixty to eighty buds and flowers upon them
at one time, may be grown by anyone possessing a warm greenhouse. The
stems are three to five angled, spiny, the tufts of spines set in little
disks of whitish wool. The flowers are as large as tea saucers, with
tubes about 4 in. long, the colour being an intense crimson or violet, so
intense and bright as to dazzle the eyes when looked at in bright
sunlight. When cut and placed in water they will last three or four
days. April and May. Mexico, 1820. "Numberless varieties have been
raised from this Cereus, as it seeds freely and crosses readily with
other species. Many years ago, Mr. D. Beaton raised scores of seedlings
from crosses between this and C. flagelliformis, and has stated that he
never found a barren seedling. Much attention was given to these plants
about fifty years ago, for Sir E. Antrobus is said to have exhibited
specimens with from 200 to 300 flowers each. I have been informed that
an extremely large plant of this Cereus, producing hundreds of flowers
every season, is grown on the back wall of a vinery at the Grange,
Barnet, the residence of Sir Charles Nicholson, Bart." (L. Castle).


These are characterised by a thin, drooping or trailing stem, and,
though not strictly climbers, they may most fittingly be considered in a
group by themselves. Some botanists have made a separate genus for them,
viz., Cleistocactus, but for all practical purposes they may be grouped
under the above heading, whilst popularly they are known as the
Rat's-tail or Whipcord Cactuses. Two of them--viz., C. flagelliformis
and C. Mallisoni--are generally grafted on the stem of some erect,
slender Cereus or Pereskia, or they may be worked on to the stem of a
climbing Cereus, such as C. triangularis, in such a way as to hang from
the roof of a house. A large specimen of C. flagelliformis, growing from
the climbing stem of C. rostratus, was, for a long time, conspicuous
among the Cactuses at Kew, but owing to the decay of the "stock" plant,
this fine specimen no longer exists. A large Pereskia, trained along the
roof in the Cactus-house at Kew, has recently been grafted with a number
of pieces of C. flagelliformis, which in a few years will, no doubt,
form a handsome specimen. In the same establishment a specimen of C.
Mallisoni is grafted on the stem of another kind, and is very attractive
when in flower. C. serpentinus thrives well upon its own roots. For the
cultivation of this little group, the instructions given for the
climbing and other kinds may be followed.

C. flagelliformis (whip-formed).--Stems prostrate, or, when grafted on
a tall stem, pendent, 1/2 in. in diameter, round, with numerous ridges
almost hidden by the many clusters of fine bristle-like hairs. Flowers
2 in. long and 1 in. wide; colour bright rosy-red. In some parts of
Germany this plant is one of the commonest of window ornaments, and it
is so well grown by the peasants there, that the whole window space is
completely screened by the numerous long, tail-like stems, 4 ft. or 6 ft.
long, which hang from baskets. It is sometimes cultivated by cottagers
in England, and we have seen a very fine specimen in a cottager's window
in Gunnersbury. Without its pretty bright-coloured flowers, this Cactus
has the charm of novelty in the form and habit of its stems, and as it
is easily cultivated in a window through which the sun shines during
most of the day, it is just the plant to grow for the double purpose of
a screen and a curiosity. If planted in baskets, it should be potted in
a porous loamy soil, and kept moist in the summer and perfectly dry in
winter. Summer. Peru. Introduced 1690.

C. Mallisoni ( Mallison's); Bot. Mag. 3822.--This is supposed to be of
hybrid origin, a Mr. Mallison having sent it to Dr. Lindley to be named,
and stating that he obtained it by fertilising flowers of C.
speciosissimus with pollen from C. flagelliformis. Whatever its origin,
it is a distinct kind, with stems similar to those of the last-named,
but thicker and slightly less spiny, and flowers 4 in. long by 4 in.
across the spreading petals, the whole being bright red with a cluster
of pale yellow stamens protruding 1 in. beyond the throat. The flowers
are produced from the sides of the stems, a few inches from the apex,
and as they are borne in abundance and last three or four days each, a
large specimen makes a very attractive display for several weeks in the
summer. The plant at Kew, a large one, is grafted on the stem of C.
Macdonaldiae, which is trained along a rafter, so that the stems of C.
Mallisoni hang conspicuously from the roof.

C. serpentinus (serpent-like); Fig. 16.--When young, the stems of this
plant are erect and stout enough to support themselves; but as they
lengthen they fall over and grow along the ground, unless supported by a
stake or wire; they have numerous ridges, with clusters of hair-like
spines, which are usually purplish. Flowers large, handsome, fragrant;
tube 6in, long, green; petals and sepals spreading and forming a star
3 in. in diameter, the petals purplish on the outside, and pinkish-white
inside; stamens arranged in a sort of cup 1 in. deep. This plant rarely
produces aerial roots. Small specimens are ornamental even when not in
flower, the bright green, regularly ridged stem, with its numerous
little clusters of fine spines, at the base of which are short tufts of
a white woolly substance, being both curious and pretty. It flowers
freely every summer. South America, 1814.

[Illustration: FIG. 16.--CEREUS SERPENTINUS.]


Many of these are unsuited for culture in ordinary plant-houses, whilst
others are so rare that, although cultivated in botanical collections,
they are not available for ordinary gardens, not being known in the
trade. There are, however, a good many species that may be obtained from
dealers in Cactuses, and to these we shall confine ourselves here. At
Kew, the collection of Cereuses is large and diversified, some of the
specimens being as tall as the house they are in will allow them to be,
and the appearance they present is, to some eyes at least, a very
attractive one. Such plants are: C. candicans, which is a
cluster-stemmed kind, very thick and fleshy, and in shape like an Indian
club; C. chilensis;--with tall hedgehog-skinned stems, the numerous
ridges being thickly clothed with clusters of yellowish spines, which
become dark brown with age; C. Dyckii, 10 ft. high, the stems thick and
fleshy, with ridges 11/2 in. deep; C. gemmatus, a hexagonal, almost
naked-stemmed species 10 ft. high; C. strictus, C. peruvianus, C.
geometrizans, and C. Jamacaru, which are tall, weird-looking plants,
10 ft. or more high, some of them freely branched. The following is a
selection of the largest-flowered and handsomest kinds:

C. Berlandieri (Berlandier's); Fig. 17.--A distinct and beautiful
plant, of dwarf, creeping habit, forming a tuft of short branchlets
springing from the main procumbent stems, none of which exceed 6 in. in
length by 3/4 in. in thickness. They are almost round when old, the younger
ones being slightly angled, and bearing, along the ridges, little
tubercles, crowned with short spines. Even old stems are very soft and
watery, and, on this account, it is necessary for the safety of the
plant, in winter, that it should be kept absolutely dry. The flowers are
produced on the young upright stems, and they are as much as 4 in.
across. They are composed of a regular ring of strap-shaped, bright
purple petals, springing from the erect bristly tube, and in the centre
a disk-like cluster of rose-coloured stamens, the stigma standing well
above them. In form the flowers are not unlike some of the Sunflowers or
Mutisia decurrens. They are developed in summer, and on well-grown
plants the display of blossom is exceptionally fine. This species is
sometimes known as C. repens and C. Deppii. It is a native of South
Texas and Mexico, where it is found growing in sandy or gravelly soils,
on dry, sunny hill-sides. It should be grown in a cool greenhouse or
frame, in a position where it would get plenty of sunshine to ripen its
growth and induce it to flower. In winter it should be placed close to
the glass, where the sun can shine full on it, and where it will be safe
from frost. It will not thrive if wintered in a warm house. In April, it
should be examined, repotted if the soil is sour, and kept watered as
growth commences.

[Illustration: FIG. 17.--CEREUS BERLANDIERI.]

C. Blankii (Blank's); Fig. 18.--This is very similar to the C.
Berlandieri in habit and stem characters, differing only in having
longer, broader, less spreading petals, a club-shaped stigma, and in the
colour, which is a deep rose, flushed in the throat with crimson. A
comparison of the figures here given will show the differences better
than any description. C. Blankii comes from Mexico at high elevations,
and thrives under cultivation with the same treatment as the preceding.
It is very common in Continental gardens, where it is grown
out-of-doors, being protected from cold in winter by a handlight and
straw. It flowers in summer.

[Illustration: FIG. 18.--CEREUS BLANKII.]

C. caerulescens (blue-stemmed); Bot. Mag. 3922.--An erect-growing, tall
Cactus, rarely branching unless made to do so by cutting off the top of
the stem; furrows and ridges about eight, the ridges prominent, waved,
and bearing tufts of blackish wool, in which are set about a dozen black
spines, 1/2 in. long; the stem when young and in good health is bluish in
colour. Flowers springing from the ridges, about 8 in. long, the tube
covered with reddish-grey scales, which pass upwards into the sepals;
petals spreading, white, the margins toothed, and forming a spreading
top, not unlike a large white single Camellia; the stamens are arranged
in a sort of cup, and are yellow-anthered, with a large rayed yellow
stigma in the middle. In the Botanical Magazine it is stated that the
flowers of this species are equal and even superior to those of C.
grandiflorus; but we have not seen flowers such as would bear out that
statement. This species is too tall-stemmed to be recommended for
windows or small greenhouses; but where room can be afforded it, the
attractive colour of its stems, together with the size and beauty of its
flowers, should win it favour. It blossoms in summer, generally about
July, and is a native of Mexico. Introduced in 1841.

C. caespitosus (tufted); Fig. 19.--A dwarf species, the stem not more
than 8 in. high by about 4 in. in diameter, sometimes branched, or bearing
about its base a number of lateral growths, which ultimately form a
cluster of stems--hence the name. The bark or skin of the stem is
greyish-green, and the ribs, of which there are from a dozen to
eighteen, are thickly covered with clusters of whitish wool and spines,
the latter rose-tinted, and radiating in all directions. The flowers are
produced on the top of the stems, and are short-tubed, the tube clothed
with little bundles of spines; spread of the petals (from thirty to
forty in each flower), 4 in.; colour deep rose; anthers and stigma
forming an eye-like cluster, the former yellow, and the latter bright
green. Flowered at Kew for the first time in 1882, but, although new to
cultivation, it is becoming plentiful. Native of New Mexico and Texas.
For windows or small greenhouses this is a most suitable plant, as it
flowers freely and keeps in good health in an ordinary greenhouse
temperature, always, however, requiring plenty of sunlight and rest
during winter. By placing it upon a shelf near the glass from October to
March, allowing it to remain perfectly dry, and afterwards watering it
freely, the flowers should make their appearance early in summer. A
plant with several stems, each bearing a large bright rose blossom,
sometimes two, presents an attractive appearance.

[Illustration: FIG. 19.--CEREUS CAESPITOSUS.]

C. cirrhiferus (tendril-bearing).--A prostrate, branching-stemmed,
small-growing kind, very proliferous, with roots along the main stems;
branchlets upright, five-angled, with slightly raised points, or
tubercles, upon which are ten short hair-like spines, arranged in a
star, and surrounding three or four central erect spines, all whitish
and transparent. Flowering branches erect, 4 in. high, by about 1 in. in
diameter, bearing, near the apex, the large bright red flowers, nearly
4 in. in diameter, regular as a Sunflower, and lasting about a week. This
species was introduced from Mexico in 1847. It is one of the best-known
and handsomest of this group. It requires similar treatment to C.

C. ctenoides (comb-like); Fig. 20.--Stem 3 in. to 5 in. high, and about
3 in. in diameter, egg-shaped, unbranched, rarely producing offsets at
the base. Ribs fifteen or sixteen, spiral, with closely-set cushions of
stiff, whitish spines, which interlace and almost hide the stem; there
are from fourteen to twenty-two spines to each cushion, and they are
1/4 in. long. Flowers produced on the ridges near the top of the stem; tube
short, spiny; petals spreading, like a Convolvulus, 3 in. to 4 in. across,
bright yellow; stamens yellow, pistil white. The flowers expand at about
9 a.m., and close again soon after noon. They are developed in June or
July. This species is a native of Texas, and is rare in cultivation.
When not in flower it might easily be mistaken for Echinocactus
pectinatus. It should be grown in a sunny position, in a warm house or
pit, all summer, and wintered on a shelf, near the glass, in a
temperature of from 45 degs. to 50 degs. during winter. Under cultivation
it is apt to rot suddenly at the base, more especially when old. Should
this happen, the rotten parts must be cut away, and the wound exposed to
the air in a dry house for a week or two.

[Illustration: FIG. 20.--CEREUS CTENOIDES.]

C. enneacanthus (eight-spined); Fig. 21.--Stem seldom more than 6 in.
high by less than 2 in. in diameter, cylindrical in shape, bright green,
simple when young, tufted in old specimens. Ribs shallow, broad,
irregular on the top, with spine-cushions on the projecting parts;
spines straight, yellowish-white, semi-transparent, variable in length,
longest about 1 in. There are frequently as many as twelve spines in a
tuft, although the specific name implies eight spines only. Flowers on
the ridges near the top of the stem, with spiny tubes, spreading petals
of a deep purple colour, and yellow stamens and pistil. They are
developed freely in June and July. This is a soft-fleshed species, from
Texas; it is not easily kept in health, and is therefore rarely seen. It
should be treated as advised for C. ctenoides. Neither of these plants
will flower unless it is grown in a sunny position as near to the
roof-glass as is possible.

[Illustration: FIG. 21.--CEREUS ENNEACANTHUS.]

C. Fendleri (Fendler's).--One of the best of the dwarf-stemmed kinds.
It has a pale green stem, about 6 in. high, rarely branching at the base,
but often found growing in clusters. Ridges nine to twelve, running
spirally round the stem, and bearing clusters of brown spines, some of
them nearly 2 in. in length. Flowers composed of a tube 1 in. long, green,
fleshy, and spiny, with a spreading cup-like arrangement of petals and
sepals, 3 in. in diameter, and of a bright purple colour; stigma and
anthers green. It produces its flowers in June. It was introduced from
the mountainous region of New Mexico about five years ago, and has
blossomed freely in several collections, notably in that of Mr. Loder,
of Northampton, who has cultivated this and several other species from
the same region in a sunny sheltered position out of doors, where, for
several years, they have withstood winter's cold with no other
protection than that afforded by an over-hanging wall. Mr. Loder says of
C. Fendleri that it is the best of all Cactuses for cool treatment, as
the flowers last more than a week, closing at night, and opening only in
sunshine, when its rich purple colour is quite dazzling to the eye. It
also blossoms freely under glass; but the colour of the flowers is not
so vivid as when they are produced in full sunshine out of doors.

C. giganteus (gigantic); Fig. 22.--This is the most colossal of all
Cactuses, in which respect it is chiefly interesting. Its stem, when
young, is very similar to that of other dwarfer species, whilst, so far
as is known, its flowers have not been produced under cultivation. It
grows very slowly, a plant 6 in. high being eight or ten years old, so
that, to attain its full development, a very long time indeed is
necessary. When young, the stems are globose, afterwards becoming
club-shaped or cylindrical. It flowers at the height of 10 ft. or 12 ft.,
but grows up to four or five times that height, when it develops lateral
branches, which curve upwards, and present the appearance of immense
candelabra. The flowers are 4 in. or 5 in. long, and about the same in
diameter. There is a small specimen, about 3 ft. high, in the succulent
collection at Kew. The appearance of a number of tall specimens of this
wonderful Cactus, when seen towering high above the rocks and scrub with
which it is associated, is described by travellers as being both weird
and grand. Judging by the slowness of its growth, the prospect of seeing
full-sized specimens of this species in English gardens is a very remote
one, unless full-grown stems are imported, and this is hardly possible.
Native of Mexico and California.


C. Leeanus (Lee's); Bot. Mag. 4417.--A dwarf plant, the stems not more
than 1 ft. in height, and about 5 in. in diameter at the base, tapering
gradually towards the top, so that it forms a cone; the furrows number
about a dozen, and the ridges are 1/2 in. high, the angles sharp, and
clothed with clusters of pale brown spines, the central one 1 in. long,
the others much shorter. The flowers are produced on the top of the
stem, four or five together, and are large, handsome, brick-red in
colour, the tube 2 in. long, clothed with yellowish, green-tipped scales,
and little clusters of hair-like bristles. The arrangement of the
petals, and the cluster of yellow anthers in the centre, give the
flowers the appearance of Camellias, if looked at from above. Introduced
from Mexico by Mr. Lee, of Hammersmith, in 1848, and flowered soon
afterwards at Kew, in summer. Being a native of the higher, more
northerly regions of Mexico, this species needs only to be protected
from severe frosts; it has been known to bear a little frost without
injury. For windows and greenhouses it is a very desirable plant.

C. leptacanthus (slender-spined); Fig. 23.--One of the most beautiful
of all Cactuses, and one of the easiest to cultivate, the only drawback
being that it rarely flowers under cultivation. In habit it is similar
to C. Berlandieri. A plant 8 in. across bears about twenty short
branches, each of which, under careful cultivation will produce several
flowers in the months of May and June, and these, when expanded, last
about eight days before withering; they close every afternoon, opening
about ten o'clock in the morning. The petals are arranged in a single
series, spreading so as to form a shallow cup, and are notched on the
edges near the upper end. They are coloured a deep purple-lilac on the
upper half, the lower part being white, like a large pied daisy. The
stamens are pure white; the anthers orange-coloured, as also is the
star-shaped stigma. The plant is a native of Mexico, and was introduced
in 1860. It requires the same treatment as the preceding kinds. The
illustration is sufficient to show the beauty of this little creeping
Cactus, which, although so long known, is not grown in English gardens,
though it is common enough in Continental collections.

[Illustration: FIG. 23.--CEREUS LEPTACANTHUS.]

C. multiplex (proliferous); Fig. 24.--A globose-stemmed species,
becoming pear-shaped with age; height 6 in., by 4 in. in diameter; ridges
angled, clothed with clusters of about a dozen spines, the central one
longest. Flowers 6 in. to 8 in. long, and about the same across the
spreading petals; tube clothed with small, hairy scales; the sepals long
and pointed; petals 2 in. or more long, 1 in. wide, spreading out quite
flat; stamens arranged in a ring, with the whitish-rayed stigma in the
middle. This species flowers in autumn. It is a native of South Brazil,
and was introduced in 1840. It thrives best when kept in a warm, sunny
position in a window or heated greenhouse.

[Illustration: FIG. 24.--CEREUS MULTIPLEX.]

At Fig. 25 is a curious variety of the above, the stem being fasciated
and divided into numerous crumpled, flattened branches. It is remarkable
as a monster form of the type plant. So far as is known, neither this
nor any other of the monster Cactuses produces flowers.


C. paucispinus (few-spined); Bot. Mag. 6774.--A dwarf-stemmed species
of recent introduction, and one which, owing to the beauty of its
flowers and the hardy nature of the plant, is certain to find much
favour among growers of Cactuses. The stem is about 9 in. high, by 2 in.
to 4 in. in diameter, the base much wider than the apex, the ridges
irregular, very thick and rounded, giving the stem a gouty or tumid
appearance. Upon the prominent parts of these ridges are stellate tufts
of long, pale brown spines, some of them nearly 2 in. long, and each tuft
containing about eight spines. When young, the stems are more like some
of the Mamillarias than the Cereuses. The flowers are developed near the
top of the stem, two or three opening together; they are composed of a
tube 2 in. long, clothed with long spines and large, green, scaly sepals
below, the latter gradually enlarging till at the top they become as
large as the petals, which are 2 in. long, with a spread of nearly 3 in.,
rounded at the tips, and coloured deep blood-red, tinged with orange
inside. The stamens are clustered together sheaf-like, with the dark
green stigmas protruding through them. This is a native of New Mexico,
whence it was introduced in 1883, and flowered in May. Mr. Loder, of
Northampton, has successfully cultivated it in a cool frame in the open
air, and it has also grown well in the Kew collection when treated in a
similar way. This suggests its hardiness and fitness for window
cultivation. Owing to the watery nature of the stems, it is necessary
that they should be kept quite dry during the winter.

C. pentalophus (five-winged); Bot. Mag. 3651.--As the name denotes, the
stem of this erect-growing, somewhat slender species has five very
prominent sharp-edged ridges, along which are little clusters of small
spines about 1/2 in. apart; the stem is 1 in. in diameter, and the angles
are wavy. The flowers are about 3 in. wide, spreading, the petals, broad
and overlapping, rose-coloured, except in the centre of the flower,
where they become almost pure white; the anthers are yellow, whilst the
colour of the rayed stigma is purplish-blue. A native of Mexico,
introduced and flowered in 1838. For its cultivation, the temperature of
a warm greenhouse is required, though during summer it may be placed in
a sunny position in a frame out of doors. If grown in windows, it should
be kept through the winter in a room where there is a fire constantly.

C. peruvianus (Peruvian).--A tall-grower, the stems fleshy when young,
and very spiny. The ridges on the stem number from five to eight, with
stellate bundles, about 1 in. apart, of small, stiff black spines. The
flowers appear upon the upper portion of the stem, and are 5 in. across,
the petals pure white above, tinged with red below, and forming a large
saucer, in the middle of which the numerous stamens, with yellow
anthers, are arranged in a crown. There is something incongruous in the
tall, spine-clothed, pole-like stem, upon which large, beautiful,
water-lily-like flowers are developed, looking quite out of place on
such a plant. Flowers in spring and early summer. It requires warm
greenhouse or stove treatment. There are some fine examples of this
species at Kew. A variety of this species, with a fasciated or monstrous
habit, is sometimes cultivated. Introduced in 1830.

C. pleiogonus (twisted-angled); Fig. 26.--An erect cylindrical-stemmed
species, from 6 in. to 1 ft. high by 4 in. in diameter, with from ten to
fourteen angles or ridges; these are somewhat tumid, and marked with
depressions, from which the star-like clusters of spines spring, about a
dozen spines in each cluster, the central one much the largest. The
flowers are about 8 in. long, the tube being rather thick and
cylinder-like, expanding at the top, so as to form a sort of cup, in
which the petals are arranged in several rows, with the middle filled by
the numerous stamens, surmounted by the club-like pistil. The colour of
the flowers is purple-red. This species appears to have first found its
way into cultivation through some Continental garden, its native country
being unknown. It thrives only in a warm house, developing its flowers
in summer.

[Illustration: FIG. 26.--CEREUS PLEIOGONUS.]

C. polyacanthus (many-spined).--A newly-introduced species, from El
Paso, in Mexico, where it is common on the sand ridges and stony hills.
Stem 10 in. high, 2 in. to 4 in. wide, pale green or glaucous, with about
eight ridges, the spines being placed along the angles in clusters of
half a dozen or so, and about 1/2 in. apart. The flowers are 2 in. to 3 in.
long; the tube spiny; the petals semi-erect and concave, rounded at the
tip, and forming a shallow cup or wine-glass-like flower; the colour of
the petals is deep blood-red. This beautiful Cactus is exceptional in
the length of time its flowers remain expanded and fresh, lasting a week
or more; and as the plant is very free flowering, there is usually a
beautiful display of rich red blossoms for about six weeks. It may be
grown in a cool greenhouse or window, requiring no artificial heat
beyond what would be necessary to insure its protection from frost. It
flowers in spring.

C. procumbens (trailing); Fig. 27.--This is a very pretty little
Cactus, with spreading prostrate stems, from which upright branches grow
to a height of 3 in. or 4 in.; they are 1/2 in. thick, generally only
four-angled or square, with small spines in tufts along the angles. The
flowers are developed on the ends of the branches, and are 3 in. long and
wide, the sepals spreading and recurved, as in a Paris daisy, their
colour being bright rose purple. The anthers form a corona-like ring,
inclosing the upright, rayed stigma. A native of Mexico; flowers in May
and June. In its native haunts we learn that this little Cactus is very
free-flowering, but under cultivation in this country it flowers only
rarely. It thrives best when grown in a dry, sunny greenhouse, and kept
perfectly dry during autumn and winter. If allowed to get wet in that
season, it is apt to rot, the stems being soft and watery.

[Illustration: FIG. 27.--CEREUS PROCUMBENS.]

C. reductus (dingy); Bot. Mag. 4443.--Stem erect, sometimes 3 ft. high,
and about 4 in. wide, deeply furrowed, the furrows usually numbering
about fourteen; the ridges tumid and irregular, and coloured a dingy
glaucous-green. Spines embedded in a tuft of grey wool, about a dozen
spines in each cluster, 1 in. long, a few of them only half that length.
Flowers on the top of the stem, three or four opening together, each
being 3 in. long and wide; the tube short and scaly, with overlapping
sepals and saw-edged petals, which are white, slightly tinged with rose.
Stamens filling the whole of the flower-cup, bright yellow. A native of
Mexico, introduced in 1796, flowering in summer. This species was
evidently a favourite many years ago, but it is rare with us now. It
thrives in a house where the winter temperature does not fall below
45 deg., requiring no water at that time, but a liberal supply in the
summer when growth is being made, and all the sunlight possible. When
without its star-shaped, handsome flowers, the stem is remarkably
ferocious-looking, the spines upon it being quite as thick and as strong
as on a hedgehog.

C. repandus (undulated); Fig. 28.--Stem erect, 10 ft. or more high,
unbranched, unless compelled to do so by the removal of the top. Ribs
eight or nine in number, rounded, somewhat undulated, and bearing
spine-tufts nearly 1 in. apart; each tuft contains about ten spines,
which are almost equal in length, fine, stiff, brown, and persistent;
there is a little cushion of white wool about the base of the spines.
Flowers produced on the side, within a few inches of the top of the
stem; they are composed of a scaly tube, 4 in. long, a circular row of
spreading, incurved, pale brown sepals, and two rows of broad,
overlapping, snow-white petals; stamens white, with yellow anthers;
stigma yellow. The flowers, developed in summer, are very beautiful,
but, unfortunately, each lasts only a few hours. A native of the West
Indies, and an old introduction to English gardens (1720), but rare in
cultivation now. It requires the treatment of a stove all the year

[Illustration: FIG. 28.--CEREUS REPANDUS.]

C. Royeni (Royen's); Bot. Mag. 3125.--This plant is not one of the
handsomest as regards flowers; but its stems are ornamental, and the
form of the flowers is such as would please those who admire the
curious. The stem is erect, several feet high, 2 in. in diameter, with
about ten acute ridges, along which are little tufts of white wool about
the base of the clustering spines, which are dark brown and 1 in. long.
The flower-tube is 2 in. long, thick, spineless, scaly, the scales
becoming large near the top of the flower, where they form a cup-like
whorl, enclosing the small rose-coloured petals, the stamens being
white. Introduced from New Grenada, in 1832. It flowers in spring and
summer. It should be grown in a stove.

C. variabilis (variable); Bot. Mag. 4084, under the name of C. pitajaya.
--A tall-growing plant, rather straggling in habit, branching freely,
the stems usually four-winged, but sometimes with three, five, or more,
constricted at intervals, as in Phyllocactus, the wings spiny along the
edges; spines 1 in. long. Flowers on the sides of the stems, rather low
down, long-tubed; large, showy; tube 6 in. long, smooth, fleshy, with a
few scales near the top, and a whorl of greenish, strap-shaped, pointed
sepals, the petals spreading, with toothed margins and a long acute
point, white or cream-coloured; anthers yellow. A native of various
parts of South America and the West Indies, but always close to the sea.
It flowers in July; the flowers, which open generally in the evening,
remain expanded all night, and close before noon the day following. This
species requires tropical or warm house treatment. There are some old
plants of it in the Kew collection, where it flowers annually. Except
for large houses, this species is not recommended for general
cultivation, as it blossoms only after attaining a good size, and the
stems, when old, are not at all ornamental.



(From echinos, a hedgehog, and Cactus.)

Many of the plants included in the genus Echinocactus are very similar
in habit and stem-characters to the Cereus. Botanists find characters in
the seed vessel (ovary) and in the seeds by which the two genera are
supposed to be easily separable; but, so far as can be made out by a
comparison of their more conspicuous characters, there is very little
indeed to enable one to distinguish the two genera from each other when
not in flower. A comparison of the figures given in these pages will
show that such is the case.

The name Echinocactus was given to E. tenuispinus, which was first
introduced into English gardens in 1825. The spiny character of this
species is surpassed by that of many of the more recently introduced
kinds; still it is sufficient to justify its being compared to a
hedgehog. Some of the kinds have spines 4 in. long, broad at the base,
and hooked towards the point, the hooks being wonderfully strong, whilst
in others the spines are long and needle-like, or short and fine as the
prickles on a thistle. The stems vary much in size and form, being
globose, or compressed, or ovate, a few only being cylindrical, and
attaining a height of from 5 ft. to 10 ft. They are almost always
simple--that is, without branches, unless they are compelled to form
such by cutting out or injuring the top of the stem; the ridges vary in
number from about five to ten times that number, and they are in some
species very firm and prominent, in others reduced to mere undulations,
whilst in a few, they are separated into numerous little tubercles or
mammae. The species are nearly all possessed of spines, which are
collected in bundles along the ridges of the stem. Generally, the
flowers are about as long as wide, and the ovary is covered with scales
or modified sepals. The fruit is succulent, or sometimes dry, and, when
ripe, is covered with the persistent calyx scales, often surrounded with
wool, and usually bearing upon the top the remains of the withered
flower. The position of the flowers is on the young part of the stem,
usually being perched in the centre, never on the old part, as in some
of the Cereuses. The flowers open only under the influence of bright
sunlight, generally closing soon after it leaves them.

The geographical distribution of the species, of which over 200 have
been described, extends from Texas and California to Peru and Brazil;
they are in greatest abundance in Mexico, whence most of the garden
kinds have been introduced. The conditions under which they grow
naturally vary considerably in regard to temperature and soil; but they
are all found in greatest numbers and most robust health where the soil
is gravelly or sandy, and even where there is no proper soil at all, the
roots finding nourishment in the clefts or crevices of the rocks. As a
rule, the temperature in the lands where they are native is very high
during summer, and falls to the other extreme in winter, some of the
species being found even where frost and snow are frequent; the majority
of them, however, require what we would call stove treatment.

Turning now to a consideration of those kinds known as garden plants, we
find that comparatively few of the species known to botanists are
represented in English collections, though, perhaps, we may safely say
that not one of the kinds known would be considered unworthy of
cultivation except by those who despise Cactuses of whatever kind. Their
flowers are conspicuous both in size and brilliancy of colour; and in
the curious, grotesque, and even beautifully symmetrical shapes of their
stems, one finds attractions of no ordinary kind. The stem of E. Visnaga
shown at Fig. 48 may be taken as an instance of this--apart from the
cluster of star-like, bright yellow flowers seen nestling upon the top
of their spine-protected dwelling, the whole suggesting a nest of young
birds. This plant is indeed one of the most remarkable of the
Echinocactuses, owing to the size and number of its spines--which are
3 in. long, almost as firm as steel, and are used by the Mexicans as
toothpicks--and to the gigantic size and great weight of the stem. The
following account of a large specimen of this species introduced to Kew
in 1845, is taken from an article from the pen of the late Sir Wm.
Hooker in the Gardeners' Chronicle of that year. This gigantic plant was
presented to the nation, in other words to Kew, by F. Staines, Esq., of
San Luis Potosi. Such was its striking appearance, that it was stated
that, if exhibited in the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly, some hundreds of
pounds might be realised by it. In a letter from Mr. Staines, here
quoted, our readers will perceive how difficult it often is to obtain
living specimens of these plants from their native habitats. He writes:
"I mean to have a large specimen of E. Visnaga deposited in a strong
box, sending the box first to the mountain where the monsters grow, and
placing it on the springs of a carriage which I shall despatch for that
purpose. My monstrous friend cannot travel any other way, from his
stupendous size and immense ponderosity, which cannot be adequately
calculated for here, where the largest machine for conveying weights
does not exceed sixteen arrobes, or 400lb. This enormous plant will
require twenty men at least to place it upon the vehicle, with the aid
of such levers as our Indians can invent. It grows in the deep ravines
of our loftiest mountains, amongst huge stones; the finest plants are
inaccessible to wheeled vehicles, and even on horseback it is difficult
to reach them. I shall pack him carefully in mats before applying to his
roots the crowbars destined to wrench him from his resting place of
unknown centuries. He will have to travel 300 leagues before he reaches
Vera Cruz." Being too large to be packed in a box, it was first
surrounded with a dense clothing of the Old Man's Beard or Spanish moss
(Tillandsia usneoides)--and a better covering could not have been
devised--and well corded. Fifteen mats, each as large and as thick as
an ordinary doormat, formed the exterior envelope. When unpacked on its
arrival at Kew, this monster Cactus was seen as perfect, as green, and
as uninjured as if it had been that morning removed from its native
rocks, its long, rope-like roots arranged in coils like the cable of a
ship. When placed in scales it weighed 713lb., its circumference at 1 ft.
from the ground was 41/2 ft., and its total height, 8 ft. 7 in.; the number
of ridges was forty-four, and on each ridge were fifty bundles of
spines, four spines to each bundle. Thus there were 8800 spines or
toothpicks, enough for the supply of an army. A still larger specimen
was a year or so later successfully brought to Kew, and which weighed 1
ton; but this, as well as the smaller one, survived only a short time.
There have been numerous other large specimens of this Cactus in English
gardens lately, all of them, however, succumbing to the unfavourable
conditions of our climate. Mr. Peacock, of Hammersmith, recently
possessed two large plants of E. Visnaga, one of which weighed nearly
5cwt., and measured 8 ft. 6 in. in circumference.

Cultivation.--The soil for Echinocactuses should be similar to that
recommended for the Cereuses, as also should be the treatment as regards
sunlight and rest. It cannot be too clearly understood that during the
period between October and March these plants should be kept perfectly
dry at the root, and in a dry house, where the temperature would not
fall below 50 deg. There is no occasion for re-potting the Echinocactuses
every year, it being by far the safest plan to allow them to remain in
the same pots several years, should the soil be fresh and the drainage

All the larger-stemmed kinds may be kept in health when grown on their
own roots; but for some of the smaller species it is a good plan to
graft them upon the stem of some of the Cereuses, C. tortuosus or C.
colubrinus being recommended for the smaller kinds, and for the larger
C. peruvianus, C. gemmatus, or any one the stem of which is robust, and
of the right dimensions to bear the species of Echinocactus intended to
be grafted. Some growers prefer to graft all the small Echinocactuses
upon other kinds, find certainly, when properly grafted, they are safer
thus treated than if grown on their own roots. In grafting, the two
stems (stock and scion) must be cut so that their edges meet, and in
securing them two or three stakes must be placed in such a way as to
afford support to the graft and hold it firmly in position.

Propagation.--Besides grafting, cuttings of the stems may be utilised
for the multiplication of Echinocactuses, first removing the upper
portion of the stem and putting it into soil to root, and afterwards, as
lateral stems develop on the old stock, they may be cut away with a
sharp knife, and treated in a similar manner. Should a plant become
sickly, and look shrivelled and cankered at the base, it is always best
to cut away the healthy part of the stem, and induce it to form fresh
roots, thus giving it a new lease of life. Seeds of these plants may be
obtained from dealers, more especially Continental nurserymen, and to
watch the gradual development of the plant from the seedling is both
interesting and instructive. The seeds should be sown in soil, and kept
moist and warm; in about a month after sowing, the little pea-like,
green balls will be seen pushing their way through the thin covering of
soil, and gradually but slowly increasing in size, their spines also
increasing in number and strength, the ridges forming according to the
character of the species, till, finally, they assume the mature
characters of the plant, both in stem and habit. The flowers, of course,
appear according to the length of time it takes for the species to grow
to flowering size.


E. brevihamatus (short-hooked).--Several kinds of Echinocactus are
distinguished from the rest in having the ridges divided into tubercles,
which are often globular and arranged in a spiral round the stem, as in
the genus Mamillaria; to this section the present species belongs. The
stem is almost sphere-shaped, from 4 in. to 6 in. high, the tuberculated
ridges about 1/4 in. deep, and upon each tubercle is a tuft of about a
dozen brown, radiating spines, with a long central one hooked at the
point. The flowers are borne in clusters on the top of the stem, three
or four opening together; they are 1 in. in length, and the same across
the spreading petals, which are pink, shaded with deep rose. A native of
the mountainous regions of South Brazil; introduced about 1850. Flowers
in summer. This pretty little plant will thrive if placed upon a shelf
in a greenhouse where it will have full sunshine during the greater part
of the day. It grows very slowly, especially when on its own roots, but
succeeds better when grafted on another kind.

E. centeterius (many-spined); Bot. Mag. 3974.--This has a
conical-shaped stem, 6 in. high by 4 in. wide, with about fourteen ridges,
which are notched, and bear star-shaped clusters of pale brown spines,
1/2 in. long. The blossoms are borne rather thickly on the summit of the
stem, from six to nine flowers being sometimes open together; and as
they are each nearly 3 in. across, and of good substance, they present an
attractive appearance. The petals are of a deep straw-colour, with a
reddish streak down the centre, and 11/2 in. long, with the apex notched or
toothed. The stamens are spirally coiled round the stigma, which is
club-shaped and white. This species is probably a native of Mexico, and
was first flowered in England at Kew, in 1841. A cool, dry greenhouse
suits it best; or it may be grown in a sunny room window where frost
would not be allowed to reach it in winter. Unless subjected to very dry
treatment during the winter months, and also kept in a position where
all the sunlight possible would reach it--even when at rest--there is
not much chance of this plant producing its large flowers. It may be
kept alive by giving it uniform treatment all the year round, but it
would never flower.

E. cinnabarinus (cinnabar-flowered); Bot. Mag. 4326.--This is another
of the Mamillaria-like kinds, and is remarkable for the depressed form
of its stem, which may be likened to a sea urchin, both in size and
shape. Old plants are from 6 in. to 8 in. in diameter, and about 4 in.
high; the spiral formed by the tubercles rises very gradually, and each
of the latter is surmounted by a tuft of strong, brown, radiating
spines, imbedded in a little cushion of wool. The flowers spring from
the outside of the depressed top of the stem, two or three opening
together and forming a beautiful picture, both as to size and colour.
The tube is short and green, with a row of long green sepals at the top,
and above these the petals, which are 2 in. long, overlapping, recurved,
the edges toothed, and the colour a brilliant cinnabar-red. The stamens
are in two series, very numerous, and the anthers are bright yellow.
Looking at the flattened, spiny stem, it seems impossible that such
large, handsome flowers should be produced by it. A native of Bolivia;
introduced about 1846. It blossoms in July, and may be grown on a shelf
in a cool greenhouse, as advised for the E. centeterius.

E. concinnus (neat); Fig. 29.--A small species with a globose stem,
2 in. high and 3 in. wide, and about twenty ridges, which are rounded,
rather broad, each bearing about half-a-dozen little bunches of spines
arranged in a star. The flowers are numerous, as large as, or larger
than, the stem, being 3 in. long and broad, the tube covered with brown
hair-like spines, and having a few reddish scales, whilst the petals are
in several rows, overlapping, with pointed tips, and are coloured dark
yellow with a red streak down the centre. Several flowers are sometimes
developed together on a little stem, when they have the appearance of
being much too large for so small a plant to support. The pale green of
the stem and its brown spines contrast prettily with the handsome yellow
flowers, which are brightened by the streaks of red on the petals and
the clear red colour of the stigma. It is a native of Mexico, and was
introduced about 1840, flowering early in summer. It requires a warm
greenhouse temperature all the year round, with, of course, plenty of
sunshine. It may be grafted on the stem of an erect-growing Cereus, such
as C. serpentinus or C. Napoleonis, the stock to be not higher than
6 in., and about as wide as the plant of E. concinnus is at the base.


E. coptonogonus (wavy-ribbed); Fig. 30.--Stem globose, seldom more than
5 in. in diameter, depressed on the top, with from ten to fourteen
strong, sharp-edged, wavy ribs, the furrows also being wavy. Spine tufts
set in little depressions along the margins of the ribs, five spines in
each tuft, the two upper 1 in. long and four-angled, the two lower
flattened and shorter, the fifth, which is the longest, being placed in
the top of the cushion. Flowers 2 in. across, daisy-like, produced in
April and May; tube very short; sepals and petals linear, spreading,
white, with a purple stripe down the centre; stamens red, with yellow
anthers; pistil purple, with an eight-rayed, yellow stigma. A native of
Mexico. (Syn. E. interruptus.)


E. cornigerus (horn-bearing).--This remarkable plant, of which a
portion is represented at Fig. 31, has the stoutest spines of all
cultivated Cactuses, and their arrangement on the ridges of the stem is
such as would withstand the attacks of all enemies. The broad
tongue-like spine is purple in colour, and as strong as iron; the three
erect horn-like spines yellow, and as firm as the horns of an antelope,
to which they bear a resemblance. The stem is sphere-shaped, grey-green
in colour, and is divided into from fourteen to twenty-one stout wavy
ribs, upon which the spine tufts occur at intervals of about 2 in. The
arrangement of the spines is shown in the illustration, as also is the
position of the flowers, which are small, with narrow purple petals and
brown-red sepals. The plant is a native of Mexico and Guatemala, and
would require stove treatment. We have seen only small living examples,
but according to descriptions and figures, the most interesting
character it possesses is its spiny armament. It has been called
Melocactus latispinus and Echinocactus latispinus.


E. corynodes (club-like); Fig. 32.--The stem of this is about as large
as a Keswick Codlin apple, with the broad end uppermost, and the sides
cut up into about a dozen and a half rather prominent sharp ridges, with
bunches of stout yellow spines arranged, at intervals of about 1 in.,
along the edges. The flowers, which are produced in a cluster on the top
of the stem, form a crown of bright yellow petals, studded with scarlet
eye-like stigmas. Each flower is 2 in. in diameter when fully spread out,
cup-shaped, and composed of two or three rows of over-lapping petals. In
the middle of these nestle the short stamens, and projecting well beyond
them is the bright scarlet stigma, forming a beautiful contrast to the
petals. This plant is a native of Mexico, and was introduced about the
year 1837. It is also known in gardens under the names of E. rosaceus
and E. Sellowianus. There was a pretty little specimen of this flowering
in the Kew collection last year, and the opening and closing of the
flowers, as the sunlight reached or receded from them, was almost as
rapid as that observed in the daisy. The whole plant is so small, and,
when in flower, so charming, that no one could fail to admire it. It
requires similar treatment to E. concinnus.


E. crispatus (curled); Fig. 33.--The flattened, wavy or curled ridges
of this species are characteristic of several other kinds of
Echinocactus. Its long, stout, ferocious-looking spines, directed
upwards, have a very forbidding aspect. The stem grows to a height of
about 8 in., and is said to produce its large, long-tubed, purple flowers
in the summer months. It has been introduced by a Continental
nurseryman, but, so far as is known, has not yet flowered in any English
collection. It is apparently closely allied to E. longihamatus.


E. Cummingii (Cumming's); Bot. Mag. 6097.--A pretty little species,
with a globose stem about 3 in. in diameter, the ridges divided into
tubercles, and running spirally round the stem. From each tubercle
springs a radiating cluster of yellowish, hair-like spines. The flowers
are numerous, 1 in. long and wide, the scales on the tube tipped with
red, whilst the petals stamens, and stigma are an uniform bright
ochre-yellow; so that, looked at from above, they suggest the flowers of
the common marigold. A well-managed plant produces as many as
half-a-dozen of these flowers together, which open out widely under the
influence of bright sunlight. It is one of the hardiest of the genus,
thriving well in a frost-proof house or frame. During winter, the
atmosphere surrounding it should be as dry as possible; but in summer it
likes plenty of moisture, and exposure to full sunshine. A variety of E.
Cummingii was raised from seeds a few years ago by Mr. Daniel, of Epsom,
the flowers of which were pale almost to whiteness. The type is said to
attain a height of 8 in. in its native country, Bolivia, whence plants
were introduced to Kew in 1847, and flowered in July.

E. cylindraceus (cylindrical).--A large-growing kind, attaining a
height of several feet, very broad, and, as the name denotes,
cylindrical in shape. When large, the stem often develops lateral
branches about its base. Cultivated plants of it are 6 in. high, the
sides marked with about a score of ridges, upon which, arranged in a
dense cluster, are the stout, strong spines, the longest of them 3 in.
long, hooked, and projecting outwards, the shorter spreading and
interlacing so as to form a sort of spiny network all round the stem.
The flowers are yellow, 2 in. long, and are composed of a short, thick
tube bearing from forty to fifty fringed sepals, and about half that
number of petals, which are also fringed. There are as many as a dozen
flowers opened together on stout, aged plants; it is, however, more
because of the densely spinous stems than the flowers that this species
has found its way into cultivation. It cannot be recommended for any
except large collections, and where it can be grown in a stove
temperature. It is a native of the hot deserts of Colorado, and was
introduced about ten years ago. There are several healthy young
specimens of it in the Kew collection.

E. echidne (viper; probably in allusion to the fang-like spines).--This
species is remarkable in having a stout cylindrical stem, 12 in. high by
8 in. wide, with about a dozen deep ridges; these are disposed spirally,
and bear tufts of rigid, broad spines, 1 in. or more long, spreading, so
as to interlace and form a wire-like network all round the stem. It may
be mentioned here that an American naturalist has recently suggested
that the object of these iron-like spines on the stems of many Cactuses,
and more especially on the majority of the Hedgehog kinds, is not so
much to defend the fleshy stems from browsing animals as to afford
protection from the scorching rays of the sun, which would otherwise
cause the stems to blister and shrivel; and the nature of the spiny
covering of E. echidne seems to support such a view. As in many others,
the clusters of spines in this plant have their bases embedded in a tuft
of whitish wool. The flowers are developed near the centre of the top of
the stem, and are of medium size, bright yellow, with whitish stamens;
they are produced two or three together, in summer. This species is a
native of Mexico; it thrives in a greenhouse where frost is excluded,
but only rarely flowers with us under cultivation.

E. Emoryi (Emory's); Fig. 34.--This is a very large-stemmed kind,
specimens having been found nearly 3 ft. in height and about 2 ft. in
diameter. Smaller plants, such as are in English collections, have
globose stems 1 ft. through, with about thirteen ribs, the ribs
tuberculated, the tubercles large, and rounded; the spines are borne on
the apex of the tubercles in star-shaped bundles of eight or nine, and
are angled, often flat on the top side, articulated, with hooked points,
whilst in length they vary from 1 in. to 4 in. The flowers are 3 in. long,
the tube clothed with heart-shaped scales or sepals; the petals are red,
with yellowish margins, spreading so as to form a beautiful, large,
cup-like flower, with a cluster of deep yellow stamens in the centre.
The flowering period is in the autumn, and the plant is a native of the
Lower Colorado and California. Living plants of it have only recently
been introduced into English collections. At Kew, it is cultivated in a
warm greenhouse, where it is in good health. From accounts of it in its
native haunts, it will, however, probably prefer a cool house in winter,
and as much sun and warmth as possible in spring and summer; for we are
told that during winter it is often subjected to severe frosts and heavy
snowfalls, whilst in summer the fierce heat of the sun is such as to
burn up all vegetation, except Cactuses and other similar plants.


E. gibbosus (humped).--A small apple-like plant, not more than 4 in.
high, with a depressed top, the lower part being narrowed. It has
sixteen ribs or ridges, composed of rows of thick fleshy tubercles, upon
every other of which are six or eight horny spines, 1 in. long. The
flowers are pushed out from the edge of the depression on the top of the
stem, and are large; the tube 11/2 in. long. The petals spread to a width
of 3 in., and are arranged in several rows, overlapping each other,
becoming smaller towards the centre of the flower, as in an aster; they
are pure white, except for a tinge of red on the tips of the outer ones,
the stamens being bright yellow. Two flowers are usually developed on a
plant, generally in June. This species was introduced from Jamaica about
1808, by a nurseryman in Hammersmith; but as no Echinocactuses are wild
in the West Indian Islands, it must have been introduced into Jamaica
from some of the Central American States, or probably from Mexico. It
may be grafted on to another free-growing kind with advantage, as it
does not always keep healthy when on its own roots. It should be grown
in a cool greenhouse, or in the window of a dwelling-room, always,
however, in a position where it would get plenty of sunlight.

E. Haynii (Hayne's); Fig. 35.--An upright cylindrical-stemmed species,
very much like a Mamillaria in the form and position of the tubercles
and the numerous greyish hair-like spines arranged in a radiating ring
on the top of each tubercle. The flowers are much longer than in any yet
described, the tube being 6 in. in length, clothed with large sepals on
the upper portion, and the petals are semi-erect with recurved points,
and coloured a brilliant purple-red. A native of Peru, where it is found
at high elevations, growing in crevices of rocks and exposed to full
sunlight. With us it thrives in a warm greenhouse, producing its
beautiful flowers in summer. Introduced about 1850.

[Illustration: FIG. 35.--ECHINOCACTUS HAYNII.]

E. hexaedrophorus (tubercles six-sided); Fig. 36.--This plant is
distinguished by the gouty-looking tubercles into which its broad,
spiral ridges are divided, and which look as if they would suddenly
burst like a blister if pricked with a pin. It grows about 4 in. in
height, and is similar in form to what is shown in the accompanying
figure, except that the top is usually flatter than here represented.
The whole stem has a glaucous hue, and the spines are reddish-brown. The
flowers, which are produced freely in June and July, are short-tubed,
spreading to a width of 2 in.; the petals toothed at the tips, and
arranged in several rows, overlapping each other, the colour being
white, tinted with rose, with a disk-like cluster of yellow stamens in
the centre, and a white-rayed stigma. A native of North Mexico,
introduced about 1830. It is very slow-growing, attaining full size in
not less than six years from seed; indeed, it is stated that in twelve
years a plant of it did not grow more than 2 in. Still, slow as it is, it
remains in good health when kept in a sunny position on a shelf in a
greenhouse or in a dwelling-room, so that it may be recommended for
places where space is very limited. Like E. gibbosus, it does best when
grafted on to another kind. We have seen perfect "drum-sticks" formed by
grafting a full-grown plant of this on the stem of a Cereus.

horizonthalonis (spreading-spined); Fig. 37.--Stem globose, usually
flattened on the top, and divided into eight or nine large ribs or
ridges, grey-green in colour. Spines in crowded star-shaped clusters
along the apex of the ribs, seven spines in each cluster, all of them
strong, slightly curved, horn-like, and marked with numerous rings; they
are yellow, tipped with red when young, ash-coloured when old; the
longest are about 2 in. in length. Flowers terminal, springing from the
young spine tufts, each 4 in. across, with two rows of petals arranged
regularly in the form of a cup; colour deep rose, paler on the inside of
the cup; stamens very numerous, with white filaments and yellow anthers.
The flowers expand at sunrise and close again in the evening, each one
lasting about a week; they are very agreeably scented. Flowering season,
May and June. The plant is a native of Mexico, and was introduced in
1838. (Syns. E. equitans, E. horizontalis.)


E. Le Contei (Le Conte's); Fig. 38.--Another of the large-stemmed
kinds, which have only recently found their way into English gardens,
although long since discovered and described by American travellers. The
illustration represents a young plant. When full-grown, this species has
a stem 5 ft. high by 2 ft. wide, with broad deep channels and ridges,
wrinkled and covered with a thick network of stout spines, which are set
in clusters in a cushion of whitish wool, the longest being about 3 in.
in length, with curved or slightly hooked points, and distinctly
angular. The flowers are 2 in. long, bell-shaped; the petals shining
lemon-yellow, with a tinge of brown on the outside, whilst the sepals
are like a number of fish-scales, overlapping each other down the
outside of the campanulate tube. The stamens and pistil are almost
hidden inside the flower. Flowers are borne by quite young plants,
whilst upon full-grown specimens they are so numerous as to form a large
yellow cap to the immense, prickly, conical stems. They are developed in
August and September. A native of Mexico, where it is found wild on the
rocky or gravelly plains and ravines, and often in crevices of
perpendicular rocks. It requires warm greenhouse treatment, and plenty
of water during the summer, care being taken that the soil it is planted
in is perfectly drained.

[Illustration: FIG. 38.--ECHINOCACTUS LE CONTEI.]

E. Leeanus (Lee's); Bot. Mag. 4184.--This species has many characters
in common with E. hexaedrophorus and E. gibbosus, the stem being no
larger than a small orange, with plump globose tubercles, bearing
star-shaped clusters of short brown spines. The flowers are 11/2 in. long
and wide, and are composed of a green fleshy tube, with a few whitish
scales, which gradually enlarge till, with the white, rose-tipped
petals, they form a spreading cup, the large cluster of pale yellow
stamens occupying the whole of the centre. This pretty little Cactus was
raised from seeds by Messrs. Lee, of the Hammersmith Nursery, in 1840.
It is a native of the Argentine Provinces, and flowers in May. The
treatment recommended for E. gibbosus will be found suitable for this.
It is happiest when grafted on to another kind. For the amateur whose
plants are grown in a room window or small plant-case, these tiny
Hedgehog Cactuses are much more suitable than larger kinds, as they keep
in health under ordinary treatment, and flower annually; whereas, the
larger kinds, unless grown in properly-constructed houses, rarely

E. longihamatus (long-hooked); Fig. 39.--We heartily wish all species
of Cactaceous plants were as readily distinguished and as easily defined
in words as in the present remarkably fine and handsome one--remarkable
in the very prominent ridges, the large and regularly-arranged spines,
the central one very long, flattened, and usually hooked at the end, and
handsome in the size and colouring of its flowers, both in the bud and
when fully expanded. The stem is globose, 8 in. or more high; it has
about thirteen prominent rounded ridges with waved tumid edges, from
which, about 11/2 in. apart, spring clusters of spines, about a dozen in
each cluster, dark red when young, becoming brown with age. In length,
these spines vary from 1 in. to 6 in., the latter being the length of the
central, hooked one, which is broad and flattened at the base. The
flowers are 4 in. broad and long, the tube short, green, and bearing
reddish scales, which gradually pass into bright yellow petals blotched
with red on the outside, the inner ones spreading and forming a shallow
cup, in the centre of which are the short yellow stamens and large
pistil. Plants of this species have been grown with stems 20 in. high;
but it takes a great number of years for the development of such
specimens. The flowers are produced on the apex of the stem in July.
This species was introduced from Mexico about 1850; it thrives only when
grown in a warm greenhouse, where the temperature in summer may be
allowed to run up to 90 degs. with sun heat. For large collections it is
one of the most desirable.


E. Mackieanus (Mackie's); Bot. Mag. 3561.--A small plant, not more than
about 5 in. high, and 2 in. broad at the base, widening slightly upwards.
The ridges are broken up into numerous fleshy, rounded, green tubercles,
crowned with a tuft of thin brown spines from 1/2 in. to 1 in. long, their
bases set in a small pad of yellow wool: As the stem gets older, it
loses its tubercles at the base, which are changed into brown wrinkles.
The flowers are developed on the top of the stem, generally two or three
together, egg-shaped and scaly when in bud, 21/2 in. across when expanded;
the petals white, tipped with brown; the stigma green, club-shaped. This
curious little Cactus is one of about a dozen species found in the
Chilian Andes. It was introduced in 1837 by the gentleman whose name it
bears, and who, at that time, possessed a famous collection of Cacti.
Like the rest of the Chilian kinds, it should be cultivated in a cool
greenhouse in full sunshine, where it will produce its flowers in

E. mamillarioides (Mamillaria-like); Bot. Mag. 3558.--This is another
small, tubercled species, which, like the preceding, is a native of
Chili. Its stem is very irregular in form, owing to the crowding of the
tubercles, which look as if they were filled with water. The spines are
small, in tufts of about half a dozen, set in a little cushion of
yellowish wool. In size, the whole plant is like E. Mackieanus, but it
blossoms more freely, as many as sixteen flowers having been borne at
one time by a plant at Kew. These were short-tubed, the calyx clothed
with green scales, and the petals 2 in. long, recurved at the apex,
forming a beautiful cup-like flower of a bright yellow colour, with a
band of red down the centre of each petal; the stamens and pistil
yellow. The number of flowers developed on the small stem formed by this
plant is quite extraordinary. It grows and flowers freely in an ordinary
greenhouse, and would thrive in a sunny window if kept dry during the

E. mamillosus (nipple-bearing).--A short, dumpy plant, with numerous
tubercled ridges, bearing bunches of dark brown hair-like spines, which
form a close network about the stem. The flowers are developed on the
top of the stem, and are about 4 in. in diameter, with a thick tube; the
petals are spreading, bright yellow in colour, and arranged in a
regular, bell-like whorl. Inside this bell is a circle of purple
filaments or stamens, forming a pretty contrast with the clear yellow of
the petals. This is a recent introduction, which flowered in the Kew
collection for the first time in June, 1886. It is one of the most
beautiful of the large-flowered kinds, and, as it thrives in a warm
greenhouse and is very free-flowering, it may be expected to become a
favourite with Cactus growers. Owing to the lack of information
respecting the conditions under which many of the Cactuses are found
wild, and to the fact that little in the way of experimental culture has
been done by growers of this family, cultivators are sometimes in the
dark as regards the lowest temperature in which the rarer kinds can be
safely grown. Many of the species of the present genus, for instance,
were grown in stoves years ago but are now known to thrive in a cool
greenhouse where frost alone is excluded.

E. multiflorus (many-flowered); Bot. Mag. 4181.--A well-named Cactus,
as its small stem (seldom more than 5 in. high, and the same in width)
often bears a large cap-like cluster of beautiful white flowers, except
for a slight tinge of brown on the tips of the petals. Each flower is
composed of a green, scaly tube, and several rows of reflexed petals,
which form a shallow cup 21/2 in. across. The stamens are tipped with
orange-coloured anthers, and the stigma is rayed and snow-white. The
stem is ridged with rows of fleshy mammae or tubercles, which are
curiously humped, and each bears a cluster of spreading, brown spines,
1 in. long. The number of flowers this little plant annually produces
seems more than could be possible without proving fatal to its health;
but we have seen it blossom year after year, and in no way has its
health appeared impaired. It may be grown on a shelf in a warm
greenhouse, or in the window of a heated dwelling-room. Introduced,
probably from Mexico, in 1845. This, like all the small,
globular-stemmed kinds, may be grafted on the stem of a Cereus of
suitable thickness. Some cultivators believe that grafting causes the
plants to flower more freely, but we have not observed any difference in
this respect between grafted and ungrafted plants.

E. myriostigma. (many-dotted); Fig. 40.--In the form of the stem of
this species we have a good illustration of how widely a plant may
differ from others of the same genus in certain of its characters, for
the spines are almost totally suppressed, and the ridges are regular,
deep, and smooth. There are usually five or six ridges, a transverse
section of the stem revealing a form exactly like the common star-fish
(Astrophyton), a resemblance to which the name Astrophytum, sometimes
applied to this plant, owed its origin. The form of the stem is well
represented in the Figure. The white dots shown on the bark, and which
look like scales, are composed of very fine interwoven hairs, which,
under a microscope, are very pretty objects. This species was introduced
from Mexico along with the large plant of E. Visnaga described at the
beginning of this chapter, and was first flowered at Kew, in July, 1845.
Stems 1 ft. in length were received, along with shorter ones; but only
the small ones were established. The flowers are daisy-like, 11/2 in.
across, and are straw-coloured, the petals being tipped with black. It
thrives under warm greenhouse treatment. When without its flowers, it
looks more like a piece of chiselled stone than a living plant.


E. obvallatus (fortified); Fig. 41.--The form of stem in this species
is shown in the Figure. It grows very slowly plants 4 in. through taking
about ten years to reach that size from seeds. The spines are stout, all
deflexed, and arranged along the edges of the numerous ribs into which
the stem is divided. The flowers are developed from the centre of the
plant, and are surrounded by the erect spines, which crown the, as yet,
undeveloped tubercles. Two or three flowers are produced at about the
same time, each one being composed of a short, spiny tube, and a whorl
of erect petals, which are pointed, purple-coloured, paler at the
margin, the stamens being yellow. Native of Mexico. It requires a stove
temperature, and flowers in summer.


E. Ottonis (Otto's); Bot. Mag. 3107.--A dwarf kind, with a
balloon-shaped stem, rarely exceeding 4 in. in height, and divided into a
dozen wide ridges with sharp, regular edges, along which are clusters of
small, brown spines, set in little tufts of wool, and looking like an
array of spiders. The flowers are borne on the tops of the ridges, and
are pale yellow in colour, with a band of red hair-like spines
surrounding the calyx just below the petals, which are narrow,
spreading, and look not unlike the flowers of the yellow Marguerite; the
stigma is bright red. The symmetrical form of the stem, with its rows of
spider-like spines, renders this plant attractive, even when without its
bright and pretty flowers. It thrives only in a warm stove. Introduced
from Brazil in 1831, flowering in the month of July. As it produces
young plants about its base, it may be easily propagated by removing
them and planting them in soil; or they may be grafted as advised for
other of the small, globose-stemmed kinds.

E. pectiniferus (comb-bearing); Bot. Mag. 4190.--One of the most
striking of the plants of this genus, owing to the character of its
stem, and the large size and beauty of its flowers. The former resembles
a pear with the thin end downwards; its height is from 4 in. to 6 in., and
it has about twenty ridges, which are sharply defined and bear along
their angles little cushions of white wool 1/2 in. apart, with a radiating
cluster of brown spines springing from each. The arrangement of the
spines in rows is not unlike the teeth of a comb. The flowers are borne
near the top of the stem, and consist of a green, fleshy tube, clothed
with spines and little tufts of white wool; the sepals form a row
beneath the petals, and are yellowish, tinged with purple; petals 2 in.
long, broad, with the upper margins toothed and the tip acute, their
colour being bright rose, tinged with greenish-white at the base;
stamens yellow; stigma large, green. The form of the flowers is that of
a cup, nearly 3 in. across. Introduced from Mexico in 1845. Flowering
season, April and May. It requires warm-house treatment.

E. polycephalus (many-headed); Fig. 42.--Stem globose when young,
becoming cylindrical with age; number of ribs varying from twelve to
twenty, sharply defined, and bearing, at intervals of 1 in., clusters of
stout, reddish spines, somewhat flattened on the upper side, and marked
with raised rings, or, as it is termed, annulated, the central ones
attaining a length of over 3 in. on old plants, and sometimes curved. The
flowers are enveloped at the base in a dense mass of white wool, which
hides the tube, its spines only showing through; petals narrow, 1 in.
long, spreading like a saucer, and coloured bright yellow; stamens
numerous, yellow, as also is the large rayed stigma. California and
Colorado, on stony and gravelly hills. Flowers in spring; introduced to
Kew in 1886. This new plant is remarkable in that it is often found wild
with as many as twenty to thirty stems or heads springing from the same
base, and even young plants show early a disposition to develop several
heads. The largest stems are from 11/2 ft. to 21/2 ft. high, and have a
somewhat forbidding appearance, owing to the size and strength of their
numerous spines. For its cultivation, a warm-house temperature appears
most suitable; it bears a close resemblance to E. texensis.


E. Pottsii (Potts').--The stem of this is shown in Fig. 43. Full-sized
plants are 11/2 ft. in diameter, and have about a dozen ridges with acute
sinuses, the ridges being rounded and even. The spines are 1 in. long,
bristle-like, and are arranged in clusters of seven or nine, with a
cushion of white wool at the base of each cluster. Flowers short-tubed,
about 2 in. across, and coloured yellow; they are produced on the top of
the stem in summer, several expanding together. The plant is a native of
California, and was introduced about 1840. Under cultivation this
species proves to be a shy-flowering Cactus, although in a warm house it
grows freely, and remains in good health. It is well adapted for
grafting on to the stem of some kind of Cereus, and in this way may be
made to look very singular, as was shown in Mr. Peacock's collection of
succulents some years ago, when a fine specimen, over 1 ft. across, was
successfully grafted on to three stems of C. tortuosus, and had much the
appearance of a melon elevated on a short tripod.

[Illustration: FIG. 43.--ECHINOCACTUS POTTSII.]

E. rhodophthalmus (red-eyed); Bot. Mag. 4486, 4634.--Stem cone-shaped,
4 in. to 1 ft. high, deeply furrowed; ridges about nine, 1 in. high, the
angles bearing closely-set clusters of radiating spines, with a
projecting one in the middle of each cluster, which contains nine spines
1 in. long, purple when young, becoming white when old. The flowers are
produced from the summit of the stem, and have a thick, green, scaly
calyx tube, upon which the spreading, rose-coloured petals are arranged
in a regular series, and form a shallow bell nearly 3 in. across. The
throat of the flower is coloured a deep crimson, against which the
little sheaf of white stamens and the star-shaped yellow stigma form a
pretty contrast. Three or more flowers are expanded together on a plant.
It is a native of Mexico; introduced in 1845. It thrives in a house or
frame where it is protected from frost, and during summer gets plenty of
sunlight and air. It flowers in August. During the months of April and
May, when it starts into growth, it should be kept close; but by the end
of June, it should be exposed to the open air and allowed to ripen, so
that its flowers may be produced in the autumn. The plant called E. v.
ellipticus does not differ from the type, owing its name to the form of
the stem of the first plant that flowered at Kew.

E. scopa. (brush-like); Fig. 44.--The stem of this species, when seen
covered with numerous tufts of bristly spines, has been compared to a
brush, a comparison not, however, applicable to the form represented in
the Figure. In height the stems sometimes reach l1/2 ft., with from thirty
to forty ribs, bearing little discs of white wool at the bases of the
clusters of spines. The flowers spring from the upper part of the stem
(the nodules shown in the illustration represent the places where
flowers have been developed at an earlier stage of growth), from four to
six being borne in the same season; they are 11/2 in. long and wide, the
tube short and brown, bristly; the petals are arranged in several
overlapping series, rather wide for their length, toothed at the ends;
their colour is a bright sulphur-yellow, as also are the stamens, whilst
the stigma, which is rayed, is bright crimson. Native of Brazil.
Introduced about 1840; it is more like a Cereus, in the form of its
stem, than an Echinocactus. It flowers in June, and requires stove
treatment. The stems, when dried carefully and stuffed with wadding,
form pretty ornaments.

[Illustration: FIG. 44.--ECHINOCACTUS SCOPA.]

E. scopa cristata. (crested variety); Fig. 45.--This curious
monstrosity owes its origin to fasciation similar to what occurs in the
Celosias or Cockscombs, in some Echeverias, &c. These monster varieties
of Cactuses do not flower, but they are nevertheless interesting, and
worth growing on account of their curious shapes. The plant shown in
Fig. 45 is grafted on the stem of a Cereus, and it is remarkable that a
portion of the crest of the Echinocactus will, if grafted on to another
plant, develop the abnormal form of its parent, proving that the
variation, whatever its cause, has become fixed.


E. Simpsoni (Simpson's).--One of the smallest plants in the genus, and
one of the prettiest. It produces tufts of irregularly-formed stems
about 4 in. high, and composed of numerous rounded tubercles over 1/2 in.
wide, bearing on the top of each a tuft of about twelve spines 1/2 in.
long. The flowers are borne from the apex of the young tubercles, and
are 1 in. wide and long, cup-shaped; petals pale purple, the stamens
yellow. Native of Mexico and Colorado, where it is found at elevations
of 8000 ft. to 10,000 ft., in great abundance, forming large patches on
gravelly morains, where the climate during the summer is dry, whilst in
winter a thick covering of snow protects the plants from severe frosts.
In England, this species is said to have withstood 32 degs. of frost
without being injured. It has been grown out of doors in a garden at
Northampton, where it passed several winters planted in a raised border
at the foot of a south wall with a natural coping of ivy. In New York,
where the frosts of winter are severer than in England, it is cultivated
out of doors. In this country it is apt to be injured by excessive
moisture and fogs; but by protecting it with a handlight from November
to March or April, this is overcome. If grown in pots, it should be kept
in a position where it can enjoy all the sunlight possible.

E. sinuatus (undulated).--Stem about 8 in. wide and long; globose,
bearing fourteen to sixteen ridges, the edges of which are wavy or
undulated, the prominent points crowned with tufts of thin, flexuous,
yellow spines, the longest 11/2 in., and hooked, the shorter 3/4 in., and
straight. The stem of E. longihamatus is very similar to this. Flowers
developed on the top of the stem; tube short, scaly, green; petals
yellow, spreading, and forming a cup 3 in. across, which is greenish
outside. A native of Mexico, where it flowers in April. A
recently-introduced kind, not yet flowered in this country. It is
described as being a distinct, large-flowered, handsome species.

E. tenuispinus (thin-spined); Bot. Mag. 3963.--Stem globular,
depressed, with ridges and spines similar to those of E. Ottonis;
indeed, by some these two are considered forms of the same species. In
the number and size of the flowers, their colour and form, and the time
of flowering, there is no difference between them. Native of Mexico (and
Brazil ?).

E. texensis (Texan); Fig. 46.--A short-stemmed plant, with a thick,
leathery skin and broad-based ridges of irregular form, crowned with
tufts of stout horny spines, the central one much the longest, flattened
at the base, and strong as steel. The flowers are produced near the
centre of the top, from the tufts of whitish wool which accompany the
spines on the young parts of the ridges. They are 21/2 in. long and wide;
the tube short and woolly; the petals spreading, beautifully fringed,
and rose-coloured. Native of North-east Mexico, where it grows on stony
hillsides in full exposure to sunshine, and where, during winter, it has
to endure weather verging on to frost. It thrives in a greenhouse under
cultivation. Like several of the stout-spined, robust-stemmed kinds,
this may find favour as a garden plant because of the character of its
stem, and the extraordinary strength of its large iron-like spines.

[Illustration: FIG. 46.--ECHINOCACTUS TEXENSIS.]

E. turbiniformis (top-shaped).--A very distinct dwarf kind, with
globular stems 2 in. high and about 3 in. wide, clothed with
spirally-arranged rows or ridges of tubercles, similar to those shown in
the figure of E. hexaedrophorus, except that, in the former, there are
no spines on the mature tubercles, although, when young, they have each
a little cluster of fine spines. The flowers expand in June, several
together, from the top of the stem; they are round, 1 in. across, the
petals being numerous, pale yellow in colour, tinged with red on the
outside. Introduced from Mexico, 1840. This curious little plant
requires stove treatment, and thrives when grafted on the stem of some
other kind. It is sometimes known as Mamillaria turbinata.

E. uncinatus (hooked); Fig. 47.--A small species, with oval stems when
young, older plants becoming cylindrical, as shown in the accompanying
Figure. The height of the largest plant does not exceed 6 in., so that,
when wild, it is often hidden by the long grass in which it is
frequently found on stony hillsides at high elevations, in Mexico. The
ridges are broken up into large tubercles, upon each of which is a tuft
of short straight spines, arranged in a circle, and a long hooked one
springing from the centre, and often attaining a length of about 4 in. In
old plants the spines are almost white, whilst in young ones they are
purplish. The flowers are borne in a cluster on the apex of the stem,
and are nearly 2 in. long, the tube being short and spiny, and the petals
numerous, arranged in a cup, their colour dark purplish-red, the tips
pointed; the stamens are yellow, with orange tips. The flowers expand
only when the sun shines on them, closing up again in dull light, but
opening again, and remaining fresh for about a week. Introduced in 1850.
Flowers in March and April. This plant may be grown in a cool, sunny
greenhouse, or window, requiring only protection from frost in winter,
and in summer plenty of light, with a moderate amount of water. There
are several varieties of it described, their differences being chiefly
in the shape of the stem.


E. viridescens (greenish).--Stem 1 ft. high and 9 in. across, young
plants being broader than high; the sides split up into about twenty
ridges, which are again divided into knotty tubercles or waves. The
spines are remarkable for their size and strength, those on large plants
being 4 in. long by 1/2 in. broad at the base, gradually narrowing to a
stiff point; there are four central spines of this size, the others, of
which there are about a dozen, being shorter and thinner, and arranged
stellately. The flowers, which are rarely produced, are poor in
comparison with the majority of the flowers of this genus. As the name
denotes, their colour is yellowish-green; and they are about 11/2 in. wide
and high. There are often as many as a dozen flowers expanded together
on a stem of this plant when wild, and they are arranged in a circle
around the growing point. The interest in this species, however, centres
in its spines rather than its flowers. It is a native of the dry hills
of California, extending sometimes down to the sea-beach. There is a
plant of it at Kew 6 in. high and about fifteen years old; it has not
been known to flower there. Mr. Peacock also possesses a large plant of

E. Visnaga. (visnaga means a toothpick among the Mexican settlers); Fig.
48.--Of the most remarkable features of this truly wonderful Cactus we
have already spoken earlier in this Chapter. In 1846, Sir W. J. Hooker
described, in the Illustrated London News, a large plant of it, which
had been successfully introduced alive to Kew, and which, a year or so
later, flowered, and was figured in the Botantical Magazine (4559). Its
height was 9 ft., and it measured 91/2 ft. in circumference; its weight a
ton. Afterwards, it exhibited symptoms of internal injury. The inside
became a putrid mass, and the crust, or shell, fell in by its own
weight. The shape of the stem is elliptical, with numerous ridges and
stout brown spines arranged in tufts along their edges. The flowers are
freely produced from the woolly apex; the tube is scaly and brown, and
the petals are arranged like a saucer about the cluster of
orange-coloured stamens. The colour of the petals is bright yellow, and
the width of the flower is nearly 3 in. This plant is a native of Mexico,
and is usually cultivated in a tropical temperature, but it would
probably thrive in a warm greenhouse. It flowers in summer. As we have
stated, large specimens do not live long in this country; and as the
flowers are only borne by such, the plant, except only for its stems, is
not to be recommended for ordinary collections.

[Illustration: FIG. 48.--ECHINOCACTUS VISNAGA.]

E. Williamsii (Williams's); Bot. Mag. 4296.--A very distinct dwarf
species, often called the "Dumpling Cactus," from the puffed-out, tumid
appearance of its stems, which frequently branch at the base, so as to
form a tuft of several heads; these are turbinate, 3 in. or 4 in. high,
and 2 in. across the top, where the smooth, pale green flesh is divided
into about half-a-dozen rounded tubercles, pressed closely together, and
suggesting a number of small green potatoes joined by their bases. Each
tubercle bears several tufts of short hairs. The flowers proceed from
the young tubercles near the centre of the crown, their bases being
enveloped in pale brown wool, the petals spreading out daisy-like to the
width of 1 in., with a short disk of stamens in the middle; they are
white, tinged with rose, and are developed in the summer months. Native
of the rocky hills of Mexico, whence it was introduced in 1845. The
stems of this plant are its most distinctive feature. It thrives on a
shelf in a warm greenhouse, if kept perfectly dry in winter, and it
should be potted in a compost consisting of broken brick two-thirds,
loam one-third.

E. Wislizeni (Wislizen's); Fig. 49.--A large-stemmed kind, second only
in size to E. Visnaga. Young plants have depressed stems, those in older
specimens being cylinder-shaped. A specimen at Kew is 8 in. high by 18 in.
in diameter, with twenty-one ridges, which are regular and sharp-edged,
and bear bunches of spines at regular intervals, the outer and shorter
ones being spreading and white, whilst from the middle of each tuft
arise four longer and stouter spines, three of them 2 in. long, and one
3 in., with the point hooked, and as strong as if made of steel. The
flowers, which are developed only on large plants, are greenish-yellow,
about 2 in. long and wide, and expand during summer and autumn. The juice
of the stems is said to serve as a substitute for water when the latter
is scarce, and instances have been known among the white trappers where
the lives of men have been saved by this plant. A novel use the stems
are put to by the Indians is that of boilers, a purpose which they are
said to answer well. The fleshy inside is scooped out, and the tough
skin, with its iron-like spine protection, is then filled with
vegetables and water and placed on the fire. As there is a plentiful
supply of plants, the Indians do not trouble to carry this "boiler"
about with them, but make a fresh one at every stage of their




(From echinos, a hedgehog, and opsis, like.)

No less than three sections of Cactuses, viz., the above, Echinocactus,
and Echinocereus, owe their names to their hedgehog-like stems. From a
horticultural point of view, there is perhaps no good reason for keeping
the above three genera and Cereus separate; but we follow Kew in the
arrangement adopted here. The genus Echinopsis, as now recognised by
most English botanists and cultivators, comprises about thirty species,
most of which have been, or are still, in cultivation. They are
distinguished from Echinocactuses by the length of their flower tube,
from Cereuses by the form and size of their stems, and from both in the
position on the stem occupied by the flowers. They are remarkable for
the great size, length of tube, and beauty of their flowers, which,
borne upon generally small and dumpy stems, appear very much larger and
handsomer than would be expected.

The distribution of Echinopsis is similar to that of Echinocactus,
species being found in Chili, Bolivia, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, &c. They
grow only in situations where the soil is sandy or gravelly, or on the
sides of hills in the crevices of rocks.

Cultivation.--The growing and resting seasons for Echinopsis are the
same as for Echinocactus, and we may therefore refer to what is said
under that genus for general hints with regard to the cultivation of
Echinopsis in this country. The following is from the notes of the late
Curator of the Royal Gardens, Kew (Mr. J. Smith), as being worthy the
attention of Cactus growers. Writing about Echinopsis cristata, which he
grew and flowered exceptionally well, he says: "This showy plant is a
native of Chili, and, like its Mexican allies, thrives if potted in
light loam, with a little leaf mould and a few nodules of lime rubbish.
The latter are for the purpose of keeping the soil open; it is also
necessary that the soil should be well drained. In winter, water must be
given very sparingly, and the atmosphere of the house should be dry; the
temperature need not exceed 50 degs. during the night, and in very cold
weather it may be allowed to fall 10 degs. lower, provided a higher
temperature (55 degs.) be maintained during the day. As the season
advances, the plants should receive the full influence of the increasing
warmth of the sun; and during hot weather, they will be benefited by
frequent syringing overhead, which should be done in the evening. It is,
however, necessary to guard against the soil becoming saturated, for the
soft fibrous roots suffer if they continue in a wet state for any length
of time."

None of the species require to be grafted to grow freely and remain
healthy, as the stems are all robust enough and of sufficient size to
take care of themselves. The only danger is in keeping the plants too
moist in winter, for although a little water now and again keeps the
stems fresh and green, it deprives them of that rest which is essential
to the development of their large, beautiful flowers in summer.


E. campylacantha. (curved-spined); Bot. Mag. 4567.--Stem 1 ft. or l1/2 ft.
high, globe-shaped, with a somewhat pointed top, the sides divided into
from fourteen to sixteen ridges, with tubercled edges, bearing clusters
of about ten strong brown spines, which are stellately arranged, a
central one projecting outwards, then suddenly curving upwards, and
measuring 3 in. in length. The flowers are developed from the ridges on
the side of the stem; they are 6 in. long, the tube shaped like a
trumpet, brownish in colour, and clothed with tufts of short black
hairs; petals arranged in three rows, spreading so as to form a limb
21/2 in. across, pale rose-coloured, with a large cluster of yellow-tipped
stamens, forming a disk-like centre. This species is a native of Chili,
and was introduced in 1831. It blossoms in spring and summer. The long
curving central spine and remarkable length of the flower-tube
distinguish it from the other kinds. It may be grown in a cool
greenhouse, where it will thrive, if kept freely watered during summer
and rested on a dry, sunny shelf in winter. It is rare in English
collections, but frequently occurs in Continental gardens.

E. cristata (crested); Bot. Mag. 4687.--Stem globe-shaped, 1 ft. high,
slightly narrowed towards the top; ridges fifteen, 1 in. deep, sharply
angular, the edges bearing tufts of spreading, yellowish spines, over
1 in. long, slightly curved, and tipped with red. Flowers creamy-white,
springing from the ridges on the top of the stem; tube 4 in. long,
clothed with tufts of black hairs, and surmounted by a whorl of
reddish-yellow sepals, above which are two rows of broad-spreading
petals. The width of the flower is over 6 in., and the stamens are
arranged in a corona-like whorl inside the petals. This very fine Cactus
is a native of Bolivia, whence it was introduced in 1850. When in
flower, the broad, long-tubed, pale-coloured blossoms equal in beauty
those of the Night-flowering Cereus. It blossoms in July. It thrives if
kept in a warm, sunny greenhouse, but must be liberally treated in
summer, so as to induce vigorous growth, and then be subjected to
complete rest in winter in full sunlight, or it will not flower.

E. c. purpurea (purple ).--This variety differs from the type in having
deep rose-coloured flowers and a slightly longer tube. It is impossible
to find among all the species of the Cereus section a more beautiful
plant than this; the size of the flowers, their rich colour, their
developing three or four together in the month of July, being almost
exceptional, even among Cactuses. A splendid example of it was flowered
at Kew in 1846 for the first time. It thrives under the conditions
recommended for E. cristata. This variety is often made very sickly by
treating it as a tropical Cactus, and, like most of these plants, if
once it gets into a bad condition, it remains so a long time, in spite
of liberal and careful treatment. So many of the Cactuses found in cool
regions are ruined by an excess of heat in winter, and a close
atmosphere during their season of growth, that too much attention cannot
be given to the question of temperature in relation to their cultivation
in English gardens.

E. Decaisneanus (Decaisne's).--As represented in Fig. 50, this plant
appears to have a columnar stem, but this is owing to the specimen
having been formed by cutting off the upper portion of an old plant and
striking it. Naturally, the stem in this species is globular or slightly
egg-shaped, and bears about fourteen ridges, upon which are tufts of
short spines, springing from little cushions of whitish wool. The
position of the flowers is shown in the figure. The tube is covered with
tufts of hair-like spines, and the petals and sepals are broad,
spreading, and white, tinged with yellow, as in E. cristata. The native
country of this plant is not known; but it is a well-known garden
Cactus, and thrives in a warm, airy greenhouse in summer, and on a dry,
sunny shelf in winter. The swollen base of the tube is a good example of
the nature of what is usually termed the flower-stalk in these plants.
It is, as has been pointed out, the elongated calyx, and the swollen
portion is the ovary or seed vessel. If, therefore, seeds are desired,
the withering flowers should be allowed to remain, and, in time, the
upper portion of the tube will fall away, leaving the base, which
continues to grow till it attains the proportions of a hen's egg.


E. Eyriesii (Eyries').--Stem no larger than an orange, with about a
dozen ridges, the edges sharp, and bearing little globular tufts of
whitish wool and red, hair-like spines. Flower exceedingly large for the
size of the stem, the tube being more than 6 in. long, funnel-shaped,
pale green, with tufts of brown hairs, which look very much like
insects, scattered over the surface. The petals are numerous,
narrow-pointed, spreading, pure white, the stamens pale yellow, and the
star-like stigma white. This species is a native of Mexico, and was
introduced by the late Sir John Lubbock, about 1830. It blossoms at
various seasons, generally in summer. "Independently of the large size
of the flowers, which rival in dimensions those of the Cereuses, it is
remarkable for the rich, delicate odour they exhale at night, at which
time its glorious blossoms expand. When young, they resemble long,
sooty-grey horns, covered over with a thick, shaggy hairiness, and would
never be suspected to conceal a form of the utmost beauty and a clear
and delicate complexion. When the hour of perfection has arrived, and
the coarse veil of hair begins to be withdrawn by the expansion of the
unfolding petals, one is amazed at the unexpected loveliness which
stands revealed in the form of this vegetable star, whose rays are of
the softest white" (Lindley). For its cultivation, this plant requires a
warm house always; but care should be taken to give it plenty of fresh
air and as much light as possible. The soil best suited for it is a rich
loam with a little sand and charcoal. It likes liberal watering in

E. E. flore-pleno (double-flowered); Fig. 51.--A form with several rows
of petals, which give the flowers a doubled appearance.


E. E. glauca (hoary-grey). This variety differs from the type in the
absence of the dark brown hairs from the flower-tube, which is also
shorter than in E. Eyriesii. Probably a native of Mexico.

E. oxygonus (sharp-angled).--This is very similar to E. Eyriesii. Stem
globular in shape, and divided into about fourteen acute-edged ridges,
upon which are tufts of brown spines, varying from 1/2 in. to 11/2 in. in
length. Flower 8 in. long, the tube slightly curved, covered with little
scales and hairs, and coloured green and red. The petals form an
incurved cup, and are broad, with pointed tips; their colour a bright
rose, with a lighter shade towards the centre of the flower. As in E.
Eyriesii, the flowers of this kind are borne several together from the
ridges near the growing centre of the stem. It is a native of Brazil,
whence it was introduced nearly half a century ago. It thrives in an
intermediate house, if treated as advised for E. Eyriesii, and its
flowers will develop in summer. The extraordinary size and beauty of the
blossoms are sufficient to compensate for their comparatively short
duration after expanding; it is also interesting to watch the gradual
development of the tiny, hairy cone, which is the first sign of the
flower, and which increases in length and size at a surprising rate.

E. Pentlandi (Pentland's); Fig. 52.--A pretty little species, with a
globose stem 3 in. in diameter, divided into about a dozen rounded
ridges, which are undulated or broken up into irregular tubercles, when
the ridges do not run parallel with each other. Each tubercle is crowned
with a tuft of brown, bristle-like spines, 1/2 in. or so long. The flowers
are large in proportion to the size of the plant, the tube being 4 in.
long, and trumpet-shaped; petals arranged in several overlapping rows
and forming a cup 2 in. across, the lowest whorl turning downwards; in
colour, they are a brilliant red, the stamens white, and the stigmas
yellow. Three or four flowers are often expanded together on the same
stem, springing from the side instead of the top of the plant. Native of
Mexico (?); introduced about 1840. There are several distinct seedling
or hybrid forms of this species, remarkable in having the colour of
their flowers either red, yellow and white, or white, whilst some, such
as the one known as flammea, have flowers only 2 in. long. These kinds
may all be grown in a sunny greenhouse or window, as they only require
protection from frost. They may be placed out of doors in summer, and be
kept under glass only during winter, treatment which will result in
better growth and more flowers than if the plants were kept permanently
under glass.

[Illustration: FIG. 52.--ECHINOPSIS PENTLANDI.]

E. P. longispinus (long-spined); Fig. 53.--This is a long-spined form,
and differs also in the shape of the stem, which is oblong, rather than


E. tubiflorus (tube-flowered).--This species has an orange-shaped stem,
about 4 in. high, and divided into about twelve prominent, sharp-angled
ridges, along which are tufts of blackish spines, 1/2 in. long, and set in
little cushions of white wool. The flower springs from the side of the
stems, where it replaces a tuft of spines, and, as in E. Eyriesii, the
tube is remarkably long, whilst the size of the whole flower much
exceeds that of the rest of the plant, the length of the tube being
about 6 in., and the width of the flower over 4 in. The petals are pure
white, recurved, displaying the crown of yellow stamens, arranged in a
ring about the rather small, rayed stigma. The tube is uniformly green,
except that the scale-like bracts are edged with long, blackish, silky
hairs. A native of Mexico; introduced about fifty years ago, when it was
figured in the Botanical Magazine and elsewhere as a species of
Echinocactus. E. tubiflorus may be placed along with E. Eyriesii and E.
oxygonus, as it requires similar treatment. The three kinds here
mentioned may be recommended as a trio of very fine-flowered,
small-stemmed Cacti, which may be grown successfully in any ordinary



(From melon, a melon, and Kaktos, a name applied by Theophrastus to a
spiny plant; the species are melon-formed, and their angles are beset
with tufts of spines.)

This genus forms a group of well-marked and curious plants, with stems
similar to those of the globose Echinocactuses and floral characters
quite distinct from all other genera. They cannot be said to possess any
particular beauty, as their stems are stiff and dumpy, their spines
large and rigid, and their flowers small and unattractive. But what is
wanting in beauty of form or colour is atoned for in the cap which
crowns the stem, and forms the flower-head, growing taller and taller
whilst the stem remains stationary, till, under favourable
circumstances, a cylindrical mass of spines and hairs, not unlike a
large bottle-brush, and 1 ft. or more in length, is developed before the
whole plant succumbs to old age. This character belongs more
particularly to M. communis, the commonest species, and the one best
known in English gardens. Additional interest attaches to this species,
from the fact of its having been the first Cactus introduced into
Europe, for we are informed that in the year 1581 living plants of the
Melon Cactus were known in London. Fifty years later, Gerard, the Adam
of English gardening, wrote: "Who can but marvel at the care and
singular workmanship shown in this Thistle, the Melocarduus echinatus,
or Hedgehog Thistle? It groweth upon the cliffes and gravelly grounds
neere unto the seaside in the islands of the West Indies, called St.
Margaret's and St. John's Isle, neere unto Puerto Rico, and other places
in these countries, by the relation of divers that have journied into
these parts who have brought me the plant itself with his seed, the
which would not grow ill my garden, by reason of the coldnesse of the
clymate." After this, the plant appears to have been frequently
cultivated in gardens in this country, and it has only been in recent
years that this and similar curiosities have almost disappeared from all
except botanical collections.

The most prominent distinctive characters of Melocactus reside in the
cap or cluster of spines, wool, and flowers on the summit of the stem.
Thirty species are included in the genus, their stems ranging from 1 ft.
to 3 ft. in height, the ridges straight, and, as a rule, large; whilst
all have stiff stout spines in clusters about 1 in. apart. The small
flowers are succeeded by bright red, cherry-like berries, containing
numerous black, shining seeds. The distribution of the species is over
the hottest parts of some of the West Indian Islands and a few places in
Central and South America.

Cultivation.--The cultivation of the several kinds known in gardens is
as follows: A tropical temperature all the year round, with as much
sunlight as possible, and a moist atmosphere for about three months
during summer, when growth is most active. Very little soil is required,
as the largest stems have comparatively few roots; indeed, imported
stems have been known to live, and even make growth, nearly two years
without pushing a single root; but, of course, this was abnormal, and
was no other than the using-up of the nourishment stored up in the stem
before it was removed from its native home. M. Louis de Smet, a
well-known Ghent nurseryman, who grows a fine collection of Cactuses,
stated that he had kept M. communis a long time in robust health and
growth by feeding it with a very weak solution of salt. Tried at Kew,
this treatment did not appear to make any perceptible difference; but,
bearing in mind that the Turk's-Cap Cactus is found in great abundance
within the reach of sea spray, in some of the West Indian Islands, there
seems much reason in M. de Smet's treatment. The same gentleman informed
us that he had a specimen of this Cactus bearing no less than thirteen
heads. There is, at the time of writing, a specimen at Kew bearing four
fine heads. Large imported plants are very rarely, established; and even
when established, they do not thrive long, owing to the fact that, after
the cap has commenced to form, no further stem-growth is made. Young
plants grow very slowly, a plant 3 ft. across taking, according to Sir W.
Hooker, from 200 to 300 years to reach that size. It has been stated
that grafting is a good plan to adopt for the Melocactus, Mr. F. T.
Palmer, in "Culture des Cactees", recommending the following treatment
for M. communis: Take a Cereus peruvianus of about the same diameter as
that of the base of the Melocactus, cut off the head of the former, but
not so low as to come upon the hard, ligneous axis, and then pare off
the hard epidermis and ribs for about 1 in. Then take off a slice from
the base of the Melocactus, also paring off about 1 in. of the epidermis
all round; place the two together, and bind on firmly with strong
worsted. In warm weather, a union should take place in about two months,
but it will be safest to allow the ligature to remain till growth
commences. The precaution of paring off the hard skin and ribs is
absolutely necessary, as the juicy centre contracts, and the rind, or
epidermis, does not. There would, therefore, be a cavity formed
sufficient to prevent all cohesion, be the graft tied on ever so

Large imported stems should be kept perfectly dry for about a fortnight,
and, if they show any signs of rottenness, they should be carefully
examined and the bad portions cut away; exposure to the air for a few
days will generally cause these pared places to callus over. At all
times, even when the stems appear to be in good health, a sharp look-out
should be kept for patches of rottenness in the stem, and especially
about its base.

Propagation.--This is effected by means of seeds, which usually follow
quickly after the flowers produced on cultivated specimens.
Multiplication is also possible by means of offsets, which are formed
about the base of the stem if the top of a growing plant is cut out. The
thirteen-headed plant mentioned above was the result of the removal of
the top of a stem which had developed these lateral growths, and thus
formed a family of red-capped stems; this had, however, taken place
before the plant was removed from its native home. As the cap is the
most remarkable part of M. communis, the purchase of large imported
stems, in preference to young ones raised from seeds, is recommended;
for, as the cap does not form till the stem attains a large size, there
would be small hope of seedlings reaching the flowering stage during a


M. communis (common); Fig. 54.--Stem from 2 ft. to 3 ft. in diameter,
globose, with from twelve to twenty ridges, and armed with numerous
clusters of strong, short spines, the clusters placed closely together.
On the summit of the stem is a cylindrical crown, about 4 in. broad, and
varying in height from 5 in. to 12 in. This cylinder is composed of a
thick pad of whitish, cotton-like substance, through and beyond which a
great number of bristle-like red spines are developed, the whole being
not unlike a bottle-brush. About the top of this brush-like growth the
flowers are produced. These are small, red, fleshy, and tube-shaped, the
calyx and corolla forming a regular flower, as in a Hyacinth. They are
borne at various times in the year, as long as the cap is growing;
afterwards the latter falls off; and the stem rots. We have a cap that
was cast by an old plant, and which has stood as an ornament on a shelf
in a room for about four years, and is still in perfect condition. In
addition to the name of Turk's-Cap Cactus this plant is also known as
"Englishman's Head" and "Pope's Head." It is a native of several of the
islands of the West Indies, being very abundant in St. Kitt's Island,
where it grows in very dry, barren places, often on bare porous rocks.

[Illustration: FIG. 54. MELOCACTUS COMMUNIS.]

M. depressus (flattened); Bot. Mag. 3691.--Stem broader than high,
deeply cut into about ten broad furrows, along the sharp angles of which
are clusters of pale brown spines, from 1/2 in. to 1 in. long, arranged in a
star, each cluster 1 in. apart. Instead of the cylinder-like cap of the
Turk's-Cap species, this one has a short, broad tuft of white wool and
red spines, like a skull-cap. The flowers are small, and soon wither,
but remain attached to the oblong berries, which stand erect in a dense
cluster in the centre of the cap, and are of a delicate rose-colour. The
first introduced plant of this was sent home by Mr. Gardner, who
introduced the Epiphyllums and other Cactuses. It flowered on the way to
England, and matured its seeds soon after its arrival. It is a native of

M. Miquelii (Miquel's); Fig. 55.--This species appears to have been
introduced in 1838, when two plants of it were sent from the West Indian
Island, St. Croix, to the Hamburg Botanic Gardens. The stem is oval,
dark green, with fourteen well-defined ribs, as regular as if they had
been carved with a knife. The spine-tufts are small; spines short,
black-brown, about nine in each tuft, one of which is central, the
others radiating; they are less than 1/2 in. long. The "cap" is cylindrical,
3 in. high by 4 in. in diameter, and composed of layers of snow-white
threads, mixed with short reddish bristles.

[Illustration: FIG. 55. MELOCACTUS MIQUELII.]

These three are the only species of Melocactus that have become known in
English gardens, although various other kinds, named M. Lehmanni, M.
Zuccarini, M. Ellemeetii, M. Schlumbergerianus, &c., occur in books.



(From pilos, wool, and Cereus, in allusion to the long hairs on the
spine cushions, and the affinity of the genus.)

One of the most striking plants in this order is the "Old Man Cactus,"
botanically known as Pilocereus senilis, which is the only member of
this genus that has become at all known in English gardens. In
Continental gardens, however, more than a dozen species are to be found
in collections of succulent plants; and of these one of the most
remarkable is that represented at Fig. 56. The limits of the genus
Pilocereus are not definitely fixed, different botanists holding
different views with respect to the generic characters. Recent writers,
and among them the late Mr. Bentham, sunk the genus under Cereus; but
there are sufficiently good characters to justify us in retaining, for
garden purposes, the name Pilocereus for the several distinct plants
mentioned here. The botanist who founded the genus gives the following
general description of its members: Stems tall, erect, thick, simple or
branched, fleshy, ridged; the ridges regular, slightly tubercled, and
placed closely together. Tubercles generally hairy, with bunches of
short spines; the hairs long and white, especially about the apex of the
stem, where they form a dense mass. Flowers on the extreme top of the
matured stems, and arranged in a cluster as in the Melon Cactus, small,
tubular; the petals united at the base, and the stamens attached to the
whole face of the tube thus formed, expanding only at night, and fading
in a few hours. These flowers have a disagreeable odour, not unlike that
of boiled cabbage. Fruit fleshy, round, persistent, usually red when
ripe. The species are natives of tropical America, and are generally
found in rocky gorges or the steep declivities of mountainous regions.

Cultivation.--These plants require distinctly tropical treatment.
During summer, they must have all the sunlight possible, and be supplied
with plenty of water, both at the root and by means of the syringe. Air
should be given on very hot days, but the plants should be encouraged to
make all the growth possible before the approach of winter. In winter,
they may be kept quite dry, and the temperature of the house where they
stand should be maintained at about 60 degs., rising to 65 degs. or
70 degs. in the day. In March, the plants should be repotted into as
small pots as convenient, employing a good, loamy soil and ample
drainage. Should the hairs become soiled or dusty, the stems may be laid
on their sides and then syringed with a mixture of soft soap and warm
water, to be followed by a few syringefuls of pure water; this should
cleanse the hairs and give them the white appearance to which the plants
owe their attractiveness.


P. Houlletianus (Houllet's); Fig. 56.--Stem robust, glaucous-green;
ridges about eight, broad, prominent, obscurely tubercled; spines in
bundles of nine, radiating, straight, less than 1 in. long, and pale
yellow. Upon the growing part of the stem, the spines are intermingled
with long, white, cottony hairs, often matted together like an unkempt
head; these hairs fall off as the stem matures. Flowers funnel-shaped,
resembling Canterbury Bells, borne in a cluster on the summit of the
plant; ovary short and scaly; petals joined at the base, and coloured a
rosy-purple, dashed with yellow; the stamens fill the whole of the
flower-tube and are white; style a little longer than the flower-tube,
and bearing a ray of about a dozen stigmas. Fruit globose, as large as a
plum, and coloured cherry-red. The pulp is bright, crimson, and contains
a few brownish seeds. In the engraving the fruit is shown on the left,
and a flower-bud on the right. This species is often known in
Continental collections as P. Fosterii.


P. senilis (Old-Man).--Stem attaining a height of 25 ft., with a diameter
of about 1 ft.; ridges from twenty-five to thirty on plants 4 ft. high;
the furrows mere slits, whilst the tufts of thin, straight spines, 1 in.
long, which crown each of the many tubercles into which the ridges are
divided, give young stems a brushy appearance. About the upper portion
of the stem, and especially upon the extreme top, are numerous white,
wiry hairs, 6 in. or more long, and gathered sometimes into locks. To
this character, the plant owes it name Old-Man Cactus; but, by a curious
inversion of what obtains in the human kind, old plants are less
conspicuous by their white hairs than the younger ones. Some years ago,
there were three fine stems of this Cactus among the cultivated plants
at Kew, the highest of which measured 181/2 ft. There was also, however, a
fine specimen in the Oxford Botanic Gardens, with a stem 16 ft. high; and
it is stated that this plant has been in cultivation in England a
hundred years at least. A plant twenty-five years old is very small,
and, from its slowness of growth, as well as from the reports of the
inhabitants of Mexico, where this species is found wild, there is reason
to believe that a stem 20 ft. high would be several hundred years old.
The flowers of P. senilis are not known in English collections, the
plant being grown only for its shaggy hairiness.


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