Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blue Monstrosity

Cereus 'Ming Thing'

All I know for sure about these Montrose cacti is that they are of the Cereus genus. The species may be foresii, but some sources claim ‘Ming Thing’ is C. peruvianus. There are two variations of Cereus 'Ming Thing'. One has a greenish hue with light colored spines, the other, as these two show, has a definite blue hue with many heads and sparse dark spines.

I understand the C. ‘Ming Thing’ is so called because its sculptural shape and many indentations supposedly resemble the jade carvings from the Ming period of Chinese art. I think the thing resembles little fists raised in protest, or perhaps baby fingers trying to grab hold of something small.

Abnormal growth points cause the deformed shapes of Montrose plants. In a normal Cereus, the cactus grows from one point at the end of the stem. In Montrose plants, growth occurs from various areas, causing a strange, contorted growth pattern. No one knows what causes this mutation. There are many theories, but none proved, and the effect can't be produced by human intervention. The condition is just a freak of nature.

Many collectors specialize in cacti with Cristation and Monstrosity. I have a few of each, but I am not partial to them. I just think every collection should have a specimen or two.


chigiy at Gardeners Anonymous said...

This guy looks very prehistoric.

Alice said...

I've only seen a few of your photos so far but I'm looking forward to seeing the rest. Were you living in Phoenix in November 1993? That's when I was there for a week. Perhaps I passed you on the street? I certainly wish I'd seen your garden.

MrBrownThumb said...

I love the monstrose cacti but I don't grow any myself because I wouldn't have enough room for all the ones I see at the greenhouse. Although I'm thinking of starting a collection of variegated C&S.

But I would need more space.

Pudgeduck said...

I have one of these that I got at a yard sale. It's 2 feet high now and doing well.
I love your blog and read it every day.

No Rain said...

It does. I should pair it with my Zamioculcas zamiifolia, (ZeZe Plant) which also looks prehistoric.

Yes, I was in Phoenix in 1993, and many decades before that. I'm a native. I'm sure we met when you were here! Probably in a local nursery.

Where there's a will, there's a way!

Thanks. Hope you keep reading!

Mr. and Mrs. Munster said...

Hello Aiyana,

I'm a master gardener intern in MN, and I am helping assemble photos for the website of the Friends School Plant Sale. This is a volunteer-run school fundraiser. Would you be willing to let us use your great photo of Cereus 'Ming Thing'?

Kind regards,

Aiyana said...

If you highlight the photo and then copy to a word processing file, you can get a copy. I have the right click function disabled. I would have to dig around in thousands of photo files from four years ago to find the original and I am super busy right now and don't have time to go through them. However, the highlight and copy method produces a decent photo.

Anonymous said...

I recently got one of these and it doesn't look anything like the ones in the photo. The clumps are tight and very close together. It looks a bit shriveled and they're no spikes.

Aiyana said...

S. Emerald,
Here is a photo that shows what this plant usually looks like, which is almost identical to mine. You may have some other variety.