Pelecyphora aselliformis (2007)

PhotoBy Chris Deem (May 2007)

To me, looking at a Pelecyphora aselliformis is like looking at a living fossil. Like fossils, it too can be found in limestone in the arid hills near San Luis Potosi. In captivity, the plants appear a deep shade of green.

This one is about 4 inches tall. Its clublike body, with its rounded felt-covered growing tip, tilts toward the sunlight. Its clean, pampered body displays unique turbercles, elongated aeroles and tiny spines.

Looking strangely like a fossilized fern, it sits in a clean clay pot, and at its crown are three violet flowers. Beautiful like a work of art, but I like to think of it in its wild state.

Perhaps somewhere on an isolated hill in Mexico, a Pelecyphora aselliformis clump has grown a long time. The heads that protrude from the ground are more gray than green. They seem flatter, and some are scorched. None are in bloom.

They are well established, as their thick storage roots are sunk deep in the ground. They sit in the broken limestone and wait for water. In time, it will come.

Pelecyphora aselliformis grow best in full sunlight and very porous growing mix. These slow-growing, sensitive cacti are grown naturally from seed and, alternatively, as grafted plants.