Cactus Culture for Amateurs by W. Watson

By W. Watson

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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.

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. CHAPTER VIII. THE GENUS ECHINOCACTUS. ) ANY 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.

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. , 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.

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