Friday, May 23, 2008

Almost As Good As Blueberries

Myrtillocactus cochal
Candelabra Cactus

Myrtillocactus cochal is endemic to the Baja California peninsula of Mexico, and can grow to a height of six to nine feet. It has an attractive lime green color and sparse spines. The cactus at times can take on a bluish tinge. In late spring, small edible berries follow the greenish yellow flowers. The long central spines are quite thick, and each central spine has several radial spines that surround it.

Although this cactus is not usually grown in a container because of its potential size, that’s where I keep my specimen. The container will retard its growth. Cuttings are the usual method of propagation. Planting the cuttings in the hottest months of summer will provide a better chance of rooting. Cuttings need a few days to dry and callus before planting.

Whortleberry Cactus is another name used for M. cochal because of the blueberry-like fruits. The berries not only resemble blueberries, they also taste like them. I’ve eaten every berry this cactus has produced this year, and as it grows, I’ll have an even bigger crop each year!

8 comments:

nikkipolani said...

So for a specimen like yours, how many berries does it produce? Interesting to know that they're edible and blueberry-like!

No Rain said...

nikkipolani,
I would guess I got 25 berries this year. The cactus is only about 8 inches tall right now with two stems. As it grows, the number will increase.

Peter said...

As my grandmother used to say, "Delicious!"

Claude said...

sounds very interesting...

but probably not a cash crop.

Is it pretty quick growing, or one of the slow ones?

No Rain said...

Claude,
I'd say moderate. I can expect it to gain about four or five inches during 2008. If it was planted in the ground, it would grow faster.

WiseAcre said...

I was going to ask you to send me a pie but after seeing you only got 25 berries I guess I'll have to wait 15 years or so.

No Rain said...

wiseacre,
You're a hoot! It probably will take 15 years to have enough to make a spare pie!

Julie said...

This is a great cactus to have around...love the ideas of berries to eat! The pie idea sounds great!