Rebutia (2014)

PhotoBy Chris Deem (April 2014)

There once was a world, a hot world with a large moon. It was the blue world of Tethys. On the single land mass of Tethys’ world, there was a river valley. It was one of many. In this valley near a clear river, many lush plants grew tall. There were cycads, ferns and other plants, as well. There were places to hide.

We will never know if it was courage or an act of desperation. His bones were hollow and he was small. Slate-blue and gray, he ran. The predator saw him and turned to follow. His panic could have been a merciful thing, the way it was all-consuming, the way it blunted his pain.

There were many tall plants in the valley and many places to hide. In one such place, there was a small dirt mound. In the nest were five speckled eggs. This was the nest of a gray female Eoraptor. She was small, and her bones were hollow. We will never know what she felt as she silently turned her eggs.

Tethys was one of many names for the ocean that surrounded Pangaea during the Triassic. At that time, this river valley was in Argentina. Some of the dinosaurs that lived there were very small. There were also small biped predators, ancestors of crocodiles, that preyed upon them.

It was a time of confusion. Some would say we, too, live in a time of confusion.

For example, let us consider the genus we call Rebutia. Rebutias are charming little cacti. When they flower, they do so with largesse.

Some sources say there are over 40 species. Others say we should merge rebutias into the confused conglomeration of Echinopsis. All I can say is that while reading about rebutias, I did learn of one difference. It seems the species considered to be Echinopsis have “distinct” ribs. Those called rebutias most often do not. Sometimes small things matter, in confusing times.