April 2011 Pterocactus tuberosus

A more in depth look at individual cactus species, a new one is added each month -managed by Hob
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April 2011 Pterocactus tuberosus

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Pterocactus tuberosus Britton & Rose
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Growth Habits: Thin stems that branch often,upright or laying over to the ground.

Scientific name: Pterocactus tuberosus.

Common names: None found.

Synonym: Opuntia tuberosa, Pterocactus tuberosus var. decipiens, Pterocactus decipiens, Pterocactus kuntzei

Etymology: The generic name is from the Greek pteron, meaning wing, and refers to the winged seeds.
tuberosus because of the tuberous roots the plant has.

Origin: Northern Argentina.

Light: Full sun to encourage stem growth and flowering.

Compost: Regular free draining cactus mix.

Water: Regular watering in spring and summer allowing soil to dry between waterings, dry in autumn and winter.

Flower: Pale to deep yellow.

Min temp: Very little information available,I overwinter mine at 5 deg C (41F)

Cultivation: Needs full sun for the stems to grow correctly and to encourage flowering, i keep mine on a high shelf in the greenhouse.
The stems are fragile and easily knocked off but will quickly grow back.

References. http://www.cactus-art.biz

Comments. Easily grown by rooting detached stems which will spend the first year or so growing a new tuberous root before flowering.
They are thought to lose the stems in the winter in the wild which are wind spread to form new plants the following year. Some growers trim the old stems off in late autumn or winter to encourage flowers on the new growth in the following season.
Unusually flowers form at the very tip of the stems.

Image showing flower bud forming on the stem tip.
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Image showing new tuber forming on a cutting.
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flower close up
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