I planted some Melocactus seeds that were given to me by one of my fellow members of the New York Cactus and Succulent Society.  This is them a week later!  I love how baby cacti start out as little green spheres on top of a fuzzy white beard of roots, and don’t even get me started on their little black seed hats!

La cosecha

Tuesday night I collected chilitos, the small red or pink fruits from members of the genus Mammillaria. Some of you might notice a small grouping of Melocactus fruits, too. In fact, I was going to say they are basically the same, but they are not!

While the fruits have a similar rose color and an ovoid shape, that is where the similarities stop. Melocactus fruits have a higher sugar content, and the seeds are more similar to dragonfruit or Ferocactus seeds in appearance (That is: they are glossy and more spherical than Mamms).

As you can see, I have harvested them at varying stages of maturity. This winter I plan to finally sow a good deal of seed that I have collected the last two years … and try to swap some, too! (Let me know if you’re interested)

I have declared Wednesday “Chilito Wednesday”. Why? Because I snapped a shot of every Mammillaria and its fruit after I collected them. That means all Mamms. and chilitos all day.

rodrigo730 said:

Good afternoon Dan, i have a question that i know you could answer, its about the color of two melocactus of my collection. well a year ago y bought a m. curvispinus var. caesius kind of big (like 3 years old), it has a grass green color, i thought it was its original tone (ive seen in google pics of that specimen in habitat with same), but a week ago i bought same with another color (dark green, like regular cactus), i took it cause it made me think. Both are same shape and stuff, what happen?

Hi! It probably has something to do with metal nutrient availability either during growth or at present. Paler colouration could be caused by less available Iron or Magnesium in the soil the plant is/was growing in. Alternatively, it could be caused by the plant receiving a little less light during growth, so the plant doesn’t synthesise as much pigmentation as it could in brighter light. The last possibility is that it could just be due to genetic variation.

Happy growing!

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