December 9, 2022

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Cactus flowers between legend and science

“You have to be like a cactus: adapt to any circumstance, be strong and remember to bloom”

Much has been written about him cactus flowersI myself contributed by saying, How to get beautiful flowers And some suggestions you can also find in this article; In the meantime I want to tell you An ancient legend about the origin of the aloe vera plant, I’ll tell you how I heard it: It’s in the Atacama Desert, the world’s driest desert, where tens of years and sometimes even centuries can pass between one rain and another. It seemed to rain when Cortes’ raiders arrived and the shaman explained it was a bad omen and unfortunately they understood the predictions correctly.

Inca myth about the birth of a cactus

In the area between the Pacific Ocean and the Andes, there lived a tribe, in the tribe lived two young people who grew up doing everything together, they learned to walk and talk together and always learned together to play and discover the beauty of nature and in the end they fell in love. However, the two Koywalu and Pasakana were of a different social class: Koiwalu was a handsome boy who loved the beauty and flowers he planted and collected for his beloved Pasakana, but was not interested in improving his social status or even hunting. . Pasakana was the daughter of the chief and his father did not view the relationship between his daughter and this unemployed person favorably: the chief thought that Pasakana should have married the best fisherman of the tribe. One day, to avoid constant pressure from his boss, the two boys decided to flee and when the sun went down they were already on the hills. When Basakana’s father did not see his daughter’s return, he understood what had happened and set out with a group of warriors to pursue the fugitives; The two, tired and excited, paused to rest, saw the men who were looking for them, but the moon was high in the sky and the pursuers also saw them. Koihulyu and Basakana had no escape, so they sought help from Pachamama (Mother Earth) and the goddess of pity opened a deep chasm where the two could hide. Pasakana’s father and his men shouted, cursing at the goddess who broke into a scream and shouted that sooner or later the two of them would have to go out. The warriors remained in front of the chasm all night long. then the goddess She turned the two lovers into a cactus, and Basakana, with its shining thorns, protects her beautiful lover, Kwehuliu (Which in the language of that tribe means flower). And that’s how it was brought upEchinopsis pasacana, today Echinopsis atacamensis.

actually in deserto in the AtacamaDespite the lack of rain, there are different genera and species of cacti that, in order to be able to live in a rain-free environment, have developed a certain survival technique: their roots have developed horizontally and are superficial, in this way The plant has a diameter of 20 cm and a surface root length of about 10 square meters To collect bumper frost. The moisture comes from the warm current of the Pacific Ocean and produces water-laden clouds which, however, cannot condense into rain as the cold western currents, necessary for rain precipitation, are blocked by the Andes.

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Echinopsis

The first aloe that comes to mind for those considering an aloe vera plant grown for their flowers is EchinopsisAnd It is widely spread in Italy both in the north and in the south, and when it blooms, it always enchants (photo is a classic example). I remember an acquaintance, an art history teacher, who took the same vase every year Echinopsis Inherited from grandmother. luck Echinopsis (especially their producers) dates back to the beginning of the last century: many farmers realized that intersect with Trichomoniasis And they were able to choose stable varieties, getting plants with flowers of different colors and petals of very different shapes and sizes. In the fifties of the last century, collectors, especially sheikhs or wealthy oilmen, paid huge sums to obtain samples of the most beautiful flowers, In 2000 there were already over a hundred patented varieties and hybrids.

Unfortunately, in this genus, flowers are many and beautiful They remain open for a few hours. In Italy Echinopsis The most common are those with pink flowers, then there are those with white flowers and after that Echinopsis The flower is red, but it can also be found with yellow flowers and of various shades.

flower Echinopsis
Flowers for Echinocereus pentalophus

the Epiphyllum

These plants are also called “Mother tongues in law”, I cactusBut without thorns. Its origin is from the American continent, unlike other types of cacti In nature, they live on trees as herbaceous plants; This genus is also widely cultivated as an ornamental plant, not to indicate its mother-in-law but for its unusual flowering. The Americans, who are the major producers, call these plants “succulent orchids.”

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I have an international seller catalog Epiphyllum containing more than a hundred plants, initially grouped according to the size of its flowers in L – XL – XXL, the largest of which reach twenty centimeters in diameter; The first three groups are also divided according to the color and shape of the flowers. In the catalog there are also some very fragrant species. flowers Epiphyllum, especially the old ones, they remain open in their splendor for only a few days, not so much, but they are also as beautiful as the buds and just hatch!

How to make aloe flower

Many genera of cacti Mammillariae, but also veto, I Notocactus, the parody, the lubevia, They have colorful flowers, with flowers that close at sunset and open again before noon. The name Lubivia Is anagrams in the region of origin, Bolivia.

The flowers of this genera, although showy, are smaller than those of Echinopsis Based on Epiphyllum, solo me Ceres They have large flowers. On the other hand, the color depends on the type of pollinator: the flowers that open at night, which are often pollinated by bats, are white and fragrant, and in fact with the smell are reminiscent of nocturnal animals; Showy flowers are those that open during the day, and that do not need olfactory references.

I was able to check it out in person Aloe vera does not always bloom, and I’ve always personally managed to check for blooming tricks. However, not all types have the same needs and for this I need to make a general hypothesis: Flowering is intended for sexual reproductionBut it is a stressful activity for the plant, which it uses above all to ensure the survival of the species. To stimulate flowering, we will have to stress the plants by keeping them dry for several months (in cold periods): this way the buds will appear when the first rains arrive.

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in this type Reputia Flowering begins from the collar and occurs on the side exposed to the sun: to obtain a homogeneous flowering, when buds appear, growers every day rotate their specimens a few degrees, in fact Sudden change of exposure may abort flowering. In the Notocactus The inflorescence is apical on the slightly lower side of the apex, also in this case Sample rotation weakens flowering. Another tip In the period of vegetative awakening (before flowering) a fertilizer rich in phosphorous or phosphates is used. seeing is believing.