Echinocactus texensis, an in-depth study of the “horse crippler”

The following is an in-depth article on the Echinocactus texensis species that I wrote some time ago and which, with my great pleasure, was published in the Cactus World magazine, published by the British Cactus & Succulents Society (BCSS). My thanks to editor Al Laius for the publication in the prestigious magazine.

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Registrati
To continue reading the article LogIn or JoinUs

Lophophora williamsii, the sacred cactus illegal in some states: let’s get to know the infamous Peyote

Yes, it can be grown but not sold… no, it cannot be cultivated nor sold… Yes and no at the same time: only young specimens can be raised because, after seven or eight years, the plant produces the notorious mescaline, and it becomes illegal (therefore, it must be incinerated???). Yes, you can keep it, but only if purchased before 2006, because it’s from that year that the plant was included in the “Testo Unico sulle Droghe” (Law-framework on drugs). In Italy and in many other European countries, about the cultivation of Lophophora williamsii (a Cactaceae also known as “peyote” or “peyotl”), people have been said everything and its opposite. This is because in Italy and in some other European countries, the possession and the sale of this cactus have been the subject of normative interventions, but, as it often happens, laws are muddled, lacunose, obscure and, from a logical point of view, sometimes not very coherent. For example: in the tables attached to the Italian law on drugs, it is mentioned only Lophophora williamsii, when cactus experts know very well that of Lophophora, besides williamsii, there are several other species: decipiens, diffusa, fricii, koehresii, alberto-vojtechii.

In this article, relying on official sources, we will know better this particular kind of cactus and see in detail what the Italian law exactly says. Please remember that this plant is illegal in Italy as well as in other states, so you better check the legislation of your country to avoid taking risks! (…)

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Registrati
To continue reading the article LogIn or JoinUs

Mammillaria luethyi, the incredible story of its discovery in the Fifties and tips for growing it

Unlike what usually happens with cacti, Mammillaria luethyi was first observed by a researcher not in its habitat but in a… coffee can. Weird? Wait until you read the whole story, then. Yes, because the discovery of this species of Mammillaria is relatively recent (half of the Fifties of the twentieth century) and still today we cannot certainly define it as a widespread plant in cultivation or regularly available on the market. Nevertheless, it’s one of the most fascinating species among Mammillaria, one of the most intriguing and undoubtedly the one having the showiest flowering, and at the same time delicate and charming.

As a counterbalance to these qualities, there are some difficulties in cultivation and the tendency of the root to rot: these aspects, in addition to the slowness in growth, make M. luethyi reserved for pure enthusiasts and experienced cactophiles, although with not a few difficulties.

The following article was published in Volume 61, Issue 2 (May 2021) of the Journal of The Mammillaria Society. Thanks to the editors for their welcome publication.

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Registrati
To continue reading the article LogIn or JoinUs

The distribution of cacti and succulents in the world: maps with the states where they grow

Have you always wondered what part of the world your cactus or succulent plant comes from? From the Americas or maybe from Asia? From Africa or Europe? The topic of succulent plant distribution is vast and very intricate. However, to begin to simplify, we can say that all cacti are native to the Americas, while succulent plants in general (i.e. non-cactaceous succulents) come from different parts of the world.

In this article and in the two large maps attached, we see how cacti and non-cacti succulents are distributed around the world. We see in particular from which geographical areas the succulents originally evolved.

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Registrati
To continue reading the article LogIn or JoinUs

Recognising succulent plants and cactus: a guide to identification and correct classification

Giving a succulent plant a scientific name, in other words correctly identifying a succulent plant, is far from simple. The classification, in general, the so-called taxonomy, is the prerogative of researchers, scholars, true enthusiasts and, in some cases, real maniacs of order. In that boundless land that is the classification of plants – and in the specific case of succulents – there is often great confusion, to the point that it is not uncommon to see the continuous re-denomination of the same plant, first included in one genus, then placed in another, then moved to another one. Some plants are classified in one way by some researchers and differently by others; some tend to simplify and reduce the number of genera, while others are inclined to divide plants as much as possible, according to their peculiarities, into several genera, species, subspecies, forms and varieties. Diatribes between authors and researchers about the classification of this or that plant are the order of the day. Thus, the common grower and the ‘collector’ of succulents are forced to rely on plant tags or try to classify them by comparing the specimen with pictures found on the Internet or in books.

In the following article, we see how to find your way and what you need to know to begin to identify and classify succulent plants. We also learn how to distinguish a cactus from any other succulent plant and how to identify the best-known succulent families.

Per proseguire nella lettura dell'articolo Accedi o Registrati
To continue reading the article LogIn or JoinUs