If I don’t have my eyeglasses on while tending to my cacti, I would see a bunch of small white spiders creeping on my Gymnocalycium denudatum. I would often confuse the spines for bugs attacking the cream-white flowers. Well, I guess that is why they obviously call this succulent as Spider Cactus due to the way its white spines look like — spider legs that cling close to the body of the plant. (See the photo below.)
The dark green body of my Spider cactus is glossy and globular, about 4 inches tall and 3 1/2 inches wide. It is “slightly chinned” and has eight rounded ribs. Each spines are about a centimeter long and not injurious.
The Spider Cactus is very easy to grow. It requires full sunlight, enough water and a dose of fertilizer to yield cream-white flowers with some rosy tinge at the edge. Depending on the size of the cactus, the flowers are about 5 – 7 cm wide.
Meet my Black Plate, it’s neither in black color or a circular dish made of porcelain or glass but a spiny living plant. My cacti dealer named Rose brought me a cultivar last June 2005.
This cactus may not be rare but it’s an old-time favorite among cacti enthusiasts. Its scientific name is Gymnocalycium mihanovichii var friedrichii.
Presently, my Black Plate’s globular body is 5 cm tall, 6 cm in diameter and has a reddish-brown color. (I’ve learned that G. friedrichii could grow up to10-12 cm tall and 6-12 cm in diameter.) It has 8 prominent ribs with crossbands of lighter colors; its strong dark markings are often in red color. Its defensive structure consist of 3-6 awl-shaped radial spines. Its lovely pale pink flower is 6 cm long and is funnel-shaped.
This plant is very easy to grow. It requires light shade to full sun.However, this cacti doesn’t tolerate water-clogging so I’m careful not to over-water it.
When the word “plaid” is mentioned, oftentimes my brain projects the image of Scotland’s national costume.
So I googled this word and Merriam-Webster Dictionary came up with the following definition:
plaid -noun \ˈplad\ : a pattern of unevenly spaced repeated stripes crossing at right angles
I guess this definition fits on the description of Gymnocalycium mihanovichii, commonly known as the Plaid Cactus. The green-brown body of the plant has a pattern of banding and ridges. Moreover, this cactus produces pink flowers.