73 and still gardening

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Bird’s Nest Pincushion Cactus

I guess the sparrows would agree with me if I say that Mammillaria decipiens ssp. camptotricha is not a comfortable plant to handle. This spiny green globular cactus is presently about 5 inches tall and 6 inches wide (it hasn’t achieved its maturity, yet). It also looks like a nest guarded with lots of needles. Hence, its common name Bird’s Nest Cactus, Bird’s Nest Mammillaria or Bird’s Nest Pincushion.

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The green tubercles of this plant are about 2 cm long. Its axil is somewhat lightly covered with white hairs and a few bristles. The protruding needles in the photos are its radial spines which compensate for its lack of central spines. Each tubercle has 2 to 8 radial spines about 3 cm long. Those sharp-edge needles are either thin or thick; flexible or rigid; curled or straight; yellow, white, or brown in color.

In between those tubercles bloom the small white flowers about 1 cm to 1.5 cm wide. (I noticed that this cactus flower in dry and wet season.) Despite its plain appearance, those blossoms have a delicate scent which attracts some ants or stingless bees. In addition, its juicy fruits often look like eye-candy to humans and birds alike.

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I like this succulent because it doesn’t demand a lot of care; it’s happy growing in a sandy-loam soil mixed with rice hulls. It also just require a full sun exposure and moderate water to thrive well. However during wet season, I have to move it to a dry spot to avoid drowning and rotting.

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3 responses

  1. It is amazing how beautiful something so spiny can appear. Great info on an amazing plant!

    September 8, 2011 at 10:34 pm

  2. I love cactus but I don’t know how to grow them. Maybe because I put to much water.
    Great post.

    September 11, 2011 at 5:23 am

  3. A fascinating bloom tucked in it’s own prison of spines. An unusual and interesting plant!

    September 20, 2011 at 4:30 pm

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