Friday, January 11, 2008

Going Toward The Light


When I visited a hospital records office this week, I saw this cactus, which has a serious case of etiolation. The office was windowless, with florescent lighting on only nine hours a day. When I asked about the cactus, the proud owner told me that many folks commented about her unusual cactus, and wondered where they could find one like it. She was happy to let me snap a photo with my cell phone.

This cactus is an Echinopsis hybrid, and it is normally globular. Since it is severely lacking adequate light, it is elongating, trying to reach the light source. By moving the cactus into stronger light, etiolation will stop, but the abnormal growth will always remain and the cactus will retain the elongated portion for the rest of its life. It will probably never bloom. The little offshoot, barely visible in the photo and peeking over the top of the pot rim, looks like a long skinny caterpillar as it seeks light.

I mentioned to the owner that the cactus really could use some more light to be healthy, but she really didn’t want to hear it. She likes its shape, and the comments it generates. I wanted to tell her that the only plant that would be happy in that office would be a species of Sansevieria, but I held my tongue. Tough job when it comes to cactus care!


6 comments:

mightymatt1313 said...

You are right about the Sansevieria. I agree if the women likes the cactus the way it is, why ruin her pleasure.

Pudgeduck said...

I think there should be a law against cactus abuse! Maybe already on the books, just need to enforce it!

Tracy said...

I have to admit that even though it is lacking light, it does have a "unique" appearance. It is not too often you see a cactus shaped like this. I very am surprised it actually stays alive. She must not water it very often. Personally, I have not been able to keep cacti alive unless they had a southern or outdoor exposure.

barbara said...

Leave it to those medical records people. Problem is they need sunlight just as much as that poor cactus. Bleepin' hospital architecture.

Julie said...

LOL to Barbara...how true!!!
I like this cactus shape also...it looks really neat...do you think the cactus suffers...as in pain, or discomfort?...you just have to wonder when you see such contortion!! We may never know.

kate said...

That poor cactus looks as if it is desperately trying to grow out of its pot and run away!