A handful of characteristics to look for in the identification of round ball-like cactus

It’s like this. If you are not paying attention everything is the same, and passes by in a blur. The mind is fru fru doing circles in the sky but the eyes don’t catch the wonder. You think you got the big picture down but you are missing the ants and the Indians and the creases on the palm of the hand and the grains of sand and the roots of the trees.

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Then you focus, and are stunned by the bewildering variety of… Globose Cacti! Wo I really fell hard for this group. Can’t take my mind off of them. Something about the desert and her chanting. I hear her heart beating boom boom boom boom and she is singing about the grasshopper sparrow’s adventures with roadrunner next to the tarbush.

Besides color and size, there are characteristics that deal with form and structure, growth and development. There are ribs and tubercles, areoles and spines, wool and hairs, and the placement of the flowers.

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To show the cactus structure I blanked out the spines and just drew a little circle in its place.

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cac22This is what I’ve learned so far thanks to the experts of this realm. I hope that there are not too many egregious mistakes in terminology or taxonomy. It was inspired by a visit to the San Francisco Cactus and Succulent Society annual show in Golden Gate Park, and reinforced by a book by Graham Charles on their identification and cultivation. Online, I found a site called Cactiguide to be useful as well. Good luck in your collections and pilgrimage to the arid places!

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