Armatum e bozsingianum: due delle varietà più “cattive” del genere Gymnocalycium

Se amate le cactacee con spine robuste, lunghe e appariscenti, il genere Gymnocalycium non sarà certamente la vostra prima scelta. Vi butterete (metaforicamente, s’intende) piuttosto su generi come Ferocactus ed Echinocactus, giusto per citare i più “agguerriti”. Come in ogni cosa, però, anche nelle piante troviamo la regola e l’eccezione e la variabilità delle specie di cactacee è notevole. E’ così che, anche restando in generi dove le spine non rappresentano il punto di forza, si potranno avere singole specie con spine di tutto rispetto. Qualche esempio? Mammillaria e Parodia (=Notocactus) sono generi con un’infinità di specie e accanto a piante con spine sottilissime e corte (Mammillaria candida) potremo avere piante con spine massicce, impressionanti (Parodia maassii).

Un genere in cui questa “ricchezza” è facilmente riscontrabile è quello dei Gymnocalycium. La maggior parte delle specie ha aculei sottili, piccoli, poco significativi (G. bruchii, G. denudatum, G. stellatum, ecc.), ma non mancano specie dotate di spine in grado di reggere tranquillamente il confronto con un Echinocactus. Le prime a venirmi in mente sono spegazzinii, cardenasianum, castellanosii e guanchinense. Se amate le piante “cattive”, con queste andate sul sicuro. Vediamo un po’ più in dettaglio le due specie, con le relative varietà, che mi è capitato di rinvasare in questi giorni: cardenasianum e castellanosii, e cerchiamo anche di capire come coltivarle facendo sì che le loro spine crescano all’altezza della loro fama.

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Spegazzinii, un groviglio di spine per il Gymnocalycium più multiforme e agguerrito

Se c’è una specie di Gymnocalycium altamente variabile, quella è la spegazzinii. A quanto ho potuto osservare in coltivazione, è sufficiente che i semi provengano da pochi chilometri di distanza tra di loro (dato che si può ricavare dal “field number”) per avere differenze notevoli tra due esemplari di questa specie. Volendo estremizzare si può dire che è davvero difficile trovare due spegazzinii identici.

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