Interesting Plant: Melocactus matanzanus (Turk’s Cap Cactus)

Melocactus matanzanus (Turk’s Cap Cactus)

Melocactus matanzanus 2.jpg
Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0

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Melocactus matanzanus, common name Dwarf Turk’s-cap cactus or Turk’s-cap cactus, is a cactus in the genus Melocactus belonging to the family Cactaceae. The epithet matanzanus is derived from the Cuban province of Matanzas.

Melocactus matanzanus is a perennial fleshy globose plant. It can reach a height of 7–9 centimetres (2.8–3.5 in) and a diameter of 8–9 centimetres (3.1–3.5 in). On the bright green body there are 8-9 (or more) ribs. The thorns are brownish-gray or white. The central spine is up to 2 inches long, while the 7 to 8 radial spines are 1.2 to 2 inches long.

When the plant has reached a certain age it shows at the growing tip a cephalium (hence the common name of “Turk’s Cap”), a globose structure covered with reddish-brown bristles. This structure, where the flower buds will form, reaches a height of up to 9 centimetres (3.5 in) and a diameter of 5–6 centimetres (2.0–2.4 in). The flowers are carmine, about 2 inches long. — Wikipedia

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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

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