Sunday, October 12, 2008

Coryphantha elephantidens

Coryphantha elephantidens


Called Elephant's Tooth, or more commonly, Dumpling Cactus, the C. elephantidens is a globular cactus that readily clumps. It is sometimes listed as Mammillaria recurvispina. This is a good cactus for USDA Zones 9b-11, but does require light shade during Phoenix summers.


I have not yet placed this cactus in my landscape, but when I do, it will probably be next March, and it will be planted in the dappled shade of one of the Mesquite trees. I have quite a few cacti that require light shade in summer, and I'm running out of room to place them all! Another problem with planting them near the trees is that they end up with a lot of tree litter, both on and around the cacti. It's very hard to remove because the spines catch the fallen leaves and flower litter. I think this litter detracts from the beauty of the cacti, but I deal with it as best I can in order to have cacti from other regions of the world.


This cactus usually blooms in late summer, so this late flower is a real treat this time of year. Up until today, we've had triple digit temperatures, so maybe this cactus didn't realize it isn't summer any longer. Most sources say the flowers are very fragrant, but this flower has no scent at all. I recently watered this cactus, and don't expect to water it again until mid-November. As even cooler temperatures come, I will cut back even further and water it about every six weeks.


10 comments:

Julie said...

I know what you are talking about with the litter getting all over and in the cactus spines! It is aweful. I wanted to go clean up the cactus garden at the college, and I can't do it...it's too painful!!! I need a vacuum, I suppose!!! Maybe a powerful Shop Vac!!! :)

Claude said...

Cactus always seem to be blooming when they feel like it, and not when they're supposed too... nice little plant.

reddnas1 said...

You always write about the most interesting things, like I never realized some cacti need a little shade. A pretty thing that one is. Happy GTS.~~Dee

Dee said...

I love the lilac color of that flower. We've been running in the mid 90s in the day but the nights are dropping down to the upper 40s- brrrrrrr!

Good Acres said...

Lovely photo and interesting post. Why is it called Elephant's tooth?

Nancy in Sun Lakes said...

Thank you, thank you so much for the information you provided on placement, watering, etc. I have the same problem with litter under trees and am always picking material out of my plants. I get a lot of cactus spine pricks too!

Lythrum said...

I was just thinking of only having to water things every six weeks and couldn't get the concept through my head. ;) Very beautiful picture and informative post.

Aiyana said...

Good Acres, I assume it's called Elephant's Tooth because each of the nipples kind of looks like a giant molar--if you can picture each of them without the spines. No one really knows--but I think that's a good explanation. I prefer dumpling cactus myself. It's a more pleasant name.
Aiyana

kate smudges said...

The colour of this cactus flower is beautiful - I love the big dumpling shapes.

Ashraf shreif said...

very beautiful
i have to plants blooming in this week