Gymnocalycium cardenasianum (2013)

PhotoBy Chris Deem (February 2013)

A new crescent moon is visible over the city of Tarija. Several young couples walk leisurely through the streets, enjoying the music. The scent of sweet wine perfumes the crisp night air.

A new crescent moon is visible over a barren, eroded mountain near Villa Abecia. It hasn’t rained here for over three months. In the darkness, a shrunken cactus waits, encircled by its thick, gray spines.

A new crescent moon is visible over the country of Bolivia. Land-locked Bolivia endures her scars of poverty, political unrest and war with an optimistic dignity. Her people and one Bolivian species of cactus seem to share this dignity as their birthright.

In the department of Tarija, the temperature is consistently mild. Also of note, it seldom rains during the winter from the end of April through August.

This species of cactus is not endangered. They are grown for their attractive spines, which vary in hue from dull gray to black. These cacti require as much sunlight as possible for proper growth of their spines and moderate warmth in winter.

The name of my new plant is Pachamama, the name of a Bolivian earth goddess. She endures her scars with Bolivian dignity. Look for her in upcoming shows.