Sunday, September 21, 2008

Copiapoa cinerea

Copiapoa de Philippi



The scientific name of this tiny cactus is Copiapoa cinerea. An extremely slow growing cactus, it seems as if this small specimen hasn't grown at all since I acquired it late last year. Eventually its purple color will change to a dull green, but the spines will remain the same dark color. One of the reasons it has a purple hue (other than its young age) is that I keep it in light shade. In Phoenix, it requires some summer sun protection even as it ages.

C. cinerea
is native to northern Chile. There are about 20 other species and subspecies in this genera, and they are coveted for their rib formation. As this cactus grows, it will look nothing like it does in the photo. This species can reach about a foot tall and wide after many years. When I acquired it from a grower who specializes in cactus seed propagation, he referred to it as a 'gourmet' genus and species. I've seen members of this genus in cactus nurseries, but not often. Perhaps by 'gourmet', he meant semi-rare.

Eventually, this cactus will begin to offset. Most collectors remove the offsets so they will not detract from the cactus' basic form, which resembles a Golden Barrel. The flowers will be yellow.

8 comments:

Claude said...

what a cute little guy... too bad you can't keep that purplish color!

kml said...

It is a very unique color for a cactus. Bet you can't wait to see it grow a bit!

Rosemary said...

an amazing looking cactus

Dee said...

What a cutie! I love the purple color- too bad it will lose that as it grows. I can't wait to see it as it grows and changes!

Lythrum said...

It's too bad that it eventually loses the purple color, I really like it. :)

Julie said...

More yellow flowers, eh? Oh boy! It sure is a pretty little thing now, in it's young age!!! How was your trip? Missed ya!

verobirdie said...

THis is a very nice little guy!
And you are right about my garden, it has something of a cottage garden: as I was born in the North of France, this is the model garden for me, although the experience in the SOuth of France tells me to go more towards drought-resisting plants...

Gail said...

Cactus sure look other worldly to me!
This one especially looks like something photographed with an electron microscope!

Gail