Andean treasure

Maihuenia poeppigii cluseup
All cacti seem to have miraculous flowers, but there is something about this pale moonlight shade I find especially pleasing. The genus Maihuenia has been assumed to be closely related to Opuntia, although I understand that recent analysis shows they may be a much more primitive: like Pereskia, but unlike Opuntia, Maihuenia keeps its leaves year around--a charming trait for a cactus! I'm talking true leaves now, not stems (the skinny green lozenges between the spines below)... 
 
Further back
This plant at Sandy Snyder's garden blooms reliably and profusely every year.


A plant at Sandy's
For many years I thought this was about as big as these were apt to get in cultivation...then last week I visited Bill Spain, son of John Spain, who wrote a hardy cactus tome... 
 
Bill Spain with champion Maihuenia
 Bill brought John around to see me ten or more years ago, and apparently I shared a pot of this Maihuenia at the time...


Maihuenia poeppigii over 1 meter across!
He planted it and it has spread to almost 50" across! I have seen this plant in the central valley of Chile where it got a foot or two across. I have seen pictures of this taken in the Andes that show it forming large masses--but I am sure this plant is the champion Maihuenia in the Northern Hemisphere!

Thank you, Bill, for letting us visit--and sharing so many cuttings of this(and a lot of other gems too!)

Comments

  1. I hope mine gets that big! Did he offer any tips on getting it to that size?

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  2. What an unusual cactus. Amazing plant. I'm guessing it wouldn't survive planted out in the UK, even in London.

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  3. I have seen fabulous Maihuenia poeppigii in coastal Oregon and near Seattle, Spiky Obsession: I have no doubt that you could grow it very well indeed--given drainage and a sunny spot. This ranges from Mediterranean climate valleys to alpine heights--and can take more moisture than most cacti in my experience.

    Susan--he has this in Boulder soil (i.e.--clay) along his driveway: no special soil or care.

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  4. THAT is Awesome! This is one of my Favorite Cactus! I've wanted one for many years! One day I'll find a nursery with plants and not just seeds. Thanks for sharing the pics!

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  5. www.sunscapes.net usually has this (although not last year)--I have a hunch he has a few in reserve, however. And Beaver Creek Alpines in British Columbia lists both an alpine and a steppe accession from Volcan Antuco in Chile! http://www.rockgardenplants.com/plantcatmain.htm

    So no need to wait, Cactushead!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Acantholimon. The first one is not listing any, but Beaver Creek is. I'm assuming, being in the USA, they'll ship from the Washington address.

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  6. Opuntia-like flower to be sure, but the foliage seems that of an iceplant. Always a nice, new plant for me. Maybe I should torture some in Abq or El Paso?

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  7. I have seen Maihuenia poeppigii at the Betty Ford Garden in trough .

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  8. Beaver Creek does indeed ship to the USA. And they are Awesome, Cactushead! You will be spending a lot of money, alas.

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