There is a good reason for the common name of this cactus. Roadkill Cactus (Consolea rubescens) is as flat as a pancake, or, flat as road kill. I doubt I would have purchased this cactus had it been known by any other name. Its appearance and the novelty of its name struck me as quite funny, so home it came. I still smile when I look at it.
A native of the Caribbean Islands and Florida, it is not often found in the Phoenix area because of its frost sensitivity, need for afternoon shade and need for higher humidity than found here. My specimen will remain in a container because of its environmental needs. I keep it on the east side of my patio, and can shelter it in the winter months.
Although it can grow into a 20-foot tree, mine has not grown more than an inch in over a year. Maybe our low humidity has something to do with its slow growth. I can’t find any information on expected growth rates, but then, I don’t care how slow it grows. Its value is in its novelty, not its potential size.
Visitors to my garden do not find the same humor in this cactus as I do, but then some people do not appreciate the humor of cartoonist Gary Larson. To me, the Roadkill Cactus seems like something Gary Larson would have dreamed up for one of his cartoons.