Lobivia famatimensis

The body of this tiny cactus (about 3.5 cm [1-¼ in] high and slightly less across) is shortly cylindrical when grown in the wild; in cultivation, where the plants are frequently misted, it is longish cylindrical. The skin is coloured vivid green or greyish green. There are 24 shallow ribs covered fairly thickly with areoles from which grow short, soft, white spines. The flowers are surprisingly large, the same length as the body of the cactus — in other words about 3 cm (1 in) and coloured pale yellow.

The species has been the subject of debate among cacti authorities, and there is some confusion over the correct nomenclature. The problem will not be discussed here — suffice it to say that Lobivia famatimensis may also be found under the name Lobivia pectinifera as well as Hymenorebutia.

L. famatimensis is a hardy mountain type of cactus, for in the wild it grows in the Famatima range, which is part of the Argentine Andes, at elevations of 2,000 to 3,000 m (6,600 to 9,900 ft). It is at mountain heights, in clear air and direct sun that it attains its full beauty. However, there is no need to be wary of growing it in a city in the lowlands for it can be relied on to do well even there.

It can be grown in a standard cactus mix of hum-usy loam, sand and stone rubble. In summer it should be watered copiously and syringed frequently; in winter, however, it requires a cool and dry atmosphere and completely dry compost.

The approximately 105 other species of this genus grow equally well as house plants.

15. November 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Featured Articles, House Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lobivia famatimensis

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