The Ampyx Parodia Centre

Parodia now includes both the traditional species, and those which were previously described as Notocactus. Almost all of these plants are of value in a mixed collection, reasonably easy to cultivate and some are really spectacular in or out of bloom. The wide-open flowers are of large diameter, yellow or red in colour and carried on the crown of the plant. The dried remains of the flowers are persistent, and a few (mostly old-fashioned Notocactus) are self-fertile.

Looking in detail at the flowers gives a hint to the older grouping, although the following is not an authoritative list:

  • Parodia - Style of white or pale colour, flowers yellow or red, plants mostly globular, not prominently ribbed, spines sometimes hooked.
  • Notocactus - Style prominent and red in colour, flowers mostly yellow or occasionally pink, plants often ribbed and columnar
  • Eriocactus - Style of white or pale colour, flowers pale yellow, plants columnar and clustering from the base, top of mature plants angled towards the sun.
  • Brasilicactus - A small genus of plants with untidy flowers which are small in proportion to the plant. A couple of notable and desirable plants, but not so easy in cultivation.
  • Parodia aureispina Parodia aureispina was found as a seedling in the flower shop run by Mrs.Conway in Meanwood, Leeds in 1976, and has been a reliable performer ever since. Tolerant of neglect, it has managed to produce flowers every year since then. On one occasion recently there were 14 flowers trying to open simultaneously. About 1995 the plant began to divide into two heads, which is very unusual for Parodia. Since then the two growing centres have elongated and become rather contorted. Is this becoming a cristate?

    Parodias (as opposed to Notocactus) are more difficult to grow from seed and consequently less common in nurseries and garden centres. On the other hand, their habit of flowering later in the season is a good reason for seeking them out. Notocactus species are much more common - they grow as weeds in the pots of house plants which overwinter in our greenhouse. A specimen of the beautiful N.leninghausii, which has soft, golden-yellow spines once graced my girlfriend's windowsill in Headingley. It has since grown into a thick column with clustering offsets and is easily my favourite plant. Superb specimens of this decorative species are often found in gardens in popular, sub-tropical tourist areas.