Straw Flowers

Apparently straw flowers are an Aztec tradition.

Years ago I traveled to the nursery district at Xochimilco, the ancient Aztec “place of the flowers” outside Mexico City…


At Xochemilco there’s a big tradition of gift plants, and the Mexican way of potting them up demands big color. Many of these are set amidst moss or day-glo gravels…

Well, sure, I can understand that. Brightly colored gravel can enhance the natural coloring of the cactus. Seems reasonable.

Since the cactus did not have blooms due to youth or season, the small growers used small dried flax flowers with their needle-like stems. These would be attached by sticking the stem into the cactus flesh for anchorage. Though they may sell better with color, it’s not a sound practice. These punctures can become an inroad for fungus and bacteria to enter sterile tissues every time they’re watered.

Oh that’s not good.

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