California Native Cactus in Bloom After the Storms


The Palm Springs Desert Sun is quite familiar with cactus.

Of the three species of Mammillaria cacti found in the deserts of California, Graham’s nipple cactus, Mammillaria grahamii, is the rarest. Like the other two species, it is seldom more than 8 inches in height and blends in remarkably with the coarse sands and gravels on which it grows. Unless it is in bloom or in fruit, Graham’s nipple cactus usually goes completely unnoticed.

Unlike the other California Mammillarias, however, Graham’s nipple cactus does not typically bloom in spring but rather in summer, after a major thundershower. As such events are quite unpredictable in the California deserts as a whole, the cactus is restricted to those few mountains in the southeastern part of the state where there is a chance of summer rain.

It’s rare to find an article like this in a newspaper. usually you find articles about how some family’s 20-year-old cactus in some unknown town has finally bloomed and all the neighbors come over and call the newspaper and they print it on the front page as the big local news of the month. But here we have some real-life botanical information that even my cousin Mark Blotner in Newton, MA would find interesting. Well, maybe not, but Melissa might.


    
    
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