Parodia (2016)

PhotoBy Eric Driskill (May 2016)

The genus Parodia is named after the Italian botanist Domingo Parodi. Today the genus has about 50 species that range from smaller globose plants to columnar cacti up to 3 feet tall.

In the late 1980s, the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study included the genus Notocactus into the genus Parodia. There are certainly growers who tenaciously hold onto their Notocactus plant tags, and many people oppose this move.

Parodias are native to South America, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil. The plants are low-growing, solitary or clustering. Their stems are fairly small, globose or short and cylindrical. The plants flower readily with brightly colored flowers. Spines are few to many and quite variable, with some spines rigid and others much more pliable.

Species that were included in the genus Parodia prior to the addition of Notocactus generally do better in winter if kept warm enough to allow the plants to avoid becoming completely dormant. When allowed to go completely dormant, there is a much higher probability of losing roots, and plants can be sometimes difficult to establish the following growing season. Some of the species previously included in Notocactus are fairly cold-resistant.

Parodias are nice enough to add to a collection due to their body shapes, spine arrangements and color schemes. But if that isn’t enough, the flowers you will be rewarded with are certainly worth the bench space for a few species.