Leuchtenbergia principis     8/26/20
The seeds for this species had been sitting among my seed collection for maybe ten years, a gift from my friend Alex Quaiser of the Czech Republic. I finally planted a bunch a few years ago, and I'm sorry that I hadn't done so sooner. An odd cactus, with extended nipples topped by the usual areoles with spines. The flowering areole isn't at the spine areole, which makes me think of a Mammillaria. But, not so; it's a monospecific genus, one with only one species, and nothing else even close. It grows only in the Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico, the northern terminus of which is in Southern New Mexico. But, this species doesn't grow that far north.
The nipples whose ends you may see chewed off have been done so by my countless local pack rats. I've just bought another dozen rat traps. I stopped trapping the rats a few years ago because I catch snakes and birds in the traps, killing them. But I really need to thin out the rat population. I hate feeding them. I used to control them with D-Con, so there was never a by-kill of birds or snakes, but for some reason this very useful tool has been taken off the market. I will have to live with my guilt. Killing snakes is the worst. They just random-walk (slither?) their way into the traps. The birds are looking for food. Peck! Snap!!! Dead bird. I assuage my conscience by thinking about the billions of birds killed every year by feral cats. Doesn't really help. (03/48)