Escobaria (2004)

PhotoBy Eric Driskill (April 2004)

Recently I purchased the book Cactus Guide by Ladislaus Cutak. I’m sure most of you are aware that Lad founded the Henry Shaw Cactus Society on July 12, 1942, with 12 charter members. In his book he mentions that Neobesseya missouriensis is the club flower. Over the years N. missouriensis has had several placements, and currently it is called Escobaria missouriensis.

In his book, Edward Anderson states that Britton and Rose described many genera, including Escobaria, in their book The Cactaceae. The name escobaria honored Romulo Escobar of Mexico City and Numa Escobar of Juarez.

Escobarias are low-growing and solitary or clustered. Spines – usually short, fine, and straight – densely cover the plants. Many escobarias will reward you with nice-looking plants and brightly colored blooms in proportion to the plants.

I have had success with several escobarias in my standard soil mix and good light. They seem to grow without any unique or special requirements. You can add a few escobarias to your collection without taking up too much space.

My favorite is E. minima, which has fewer spines that are thicker than some of the others. E. missouriensis should be right at home in your collection, and I look forward to adding one to my collection now that I know it is our club flower.

After searching the Web, I found several nurseries that offer E. missouriensis ranging in price from $3 to $4.95. The nurseries are Cactus Specialties, Mesa Garden and Rio Grande Cacti.