Saturday, February 16, 2008

Gymnocalycium mesopotamicum


The Gymnocalycium genus contains around 80 species that grow in South America. There is a tremendous variety among the genus, both in spine formation and skin color, which can range from a blue-green to olive green, brown, gray and even a purple shade. Because many of the species flower freely and are easy to care for, they are popular with collectors. The cacti in this genus are called Chin Cacti because of the indentation just under the areole that resembles a chin. The spines on many of the species in this genus resemble spider legs, so another common name for the genus is Spider Cacti.

I have about 10 different Gymnocalycium species. I’ve tried to include a variety of spination and coloration as well as flower color. I like this particular species, G. mesopotamicum, because the spines have the distinct “spider” look common in so many Gymnocalycium, and because the skin color has a slight teal hue.

G. mesopotamicum originates from Argentina, and does well in the Phoenix area in light shade. However, it is frost sensitive, and does better if not exposed to temperatures lower than 50ºF. It is a summer grower, and it produces a medium sized white flower, usually in July. The only trick with this genus is the cacti must have at least six hours of very bright light each day to produce flowers. Because of the shade needs in Phoenix, it’s necessary to locate each Gymno for both bright light and sun protection.

8 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

You speak of your cacti as having 'skin'. It sounds so human. Do you name your cacti too? You have a great collection.

WiseAcre said...

I looked again at the photo after reading the spines resemble spider legs. Now all I can see is spiders crawling all over the catcus.

kate said...

I like this species ...the spines are interesting. The extent and breadth of your knowledge is incredible.

nikkipolani said...

With a name like mesopotamicum, I thought it would come from Mesopotamia! Is there anything you do for yours when temps dip below 50F? I see on your sidebar that it's currently 48F.

No Rain said...

Lisa,
Just the two pet cacti have names! The others are just part of the pack.

Wiseacre,
Yes, I've always found it obvious with Gymnos. Same with Mammillaria and their star-like spines.

Kate,
It's sort of the "jack of all trades, master of none" syndrome. Since I know a lot of cactus collectors, I suffer from the comparison. The ones I know are unbelievable in their knowledge, and they go so far as to walk the wastelands of Namibia just to glimpse a rare cactus. Not me!

Nikkipolani,
I keep them in containers so I can move them away from the elements. Although it's below 50 right now, it won't hurt the cactus. It's sustained low temperatures that are not good. On Monday, it will probably be over 70 degrees. This extra rain we're getting is more worrisome for me than the temperature, as I just watered all my cacti for the first time in 6 weeks and they don't need any more water right now.

Julie said...

Oh goodness...I will be praying for no more rain anytime soon...at least 6 more weeks!!! We had two days of deluge here and I worried about my tires...but so far so good. These cactus are very cute esp. like the teal coloration! Oh...BTW...I am on a new kick to visit south africa with my husband, specifically to see the wild succulents!!!

nikkipolani said...

Ah, I see the rim of the container, now that you mention it!

No Rain said...

Julie,
I've seen so many presentations of South African, Bolivian, Namibian, and Mexican cacti and succulent hunts at our local Cactus and Succulent meetings, I have no desire to go on such trips. The places are always so desolate! To hear the speakers expound in excited voices about their trips doesn't even inspire me. I'd rather go on a spa vacation!