20 Apr

Melocactus

Melocactus, also called Melon Cactus because of its shape, is genus of cactus and one of the favorite plants among hobbyist and commercial cacti growers.

Melocactus

Photo © The Lovely Plants

As the name suggests, Melon Cactus form large globular and solitary plant. There are about 40 species of Melocactus that vary in color (from olive to yellowish and dark green) and spines (short grey or black to long red or orange). Mature plants usually do not grow in size and start developing a crown of bristles and white ‘wool’ – the crown is called cephalium. Flowers sprout from cephalium and produce red or pink fruit.

The plant in this picture is Melocactus Zehntnerii.

Melocactus

Photo © G. Ardisson

Fruit attract birds that help spreading the seeds. The cephalium grows slowly and can exceed the height of the body itself giving a unique shape to the plant. At this point the caphelium appears like a Turkish cap – that is why, it is called Turk’s Cap. Read More