Blooming cactus in all its thorny glory!

Blooming cactus in all its thorny glory!


Blooming cactus in all its thorny glory!
Spines are their beauty.  It doesn’t mean they don’t flower. The flowering process may not be very frequent like roses but when cactus blooms they definitely draw a curious attention.

Recently, a variety of blooming cacti were put on display by the Indian Society of Cacti 
and Succulents at Dilli Haat as a part of their 26th Annual show. 
Hundreds of exhibitors, also the members of the society from across the country displayed their collection of cacti. 

The exhibition was divided into two segments- one was cacti and the other was succulents -- as it is said all cacti are succulents but all succulents are not cacti.
Some of the interesting cacti were the ones with the hallucinatory properties. A variety called Lophophora also called as ‘peyote’ releases a chemical similar to LSD called mescaline. 

Likewise, Trichocereus (San Pedro) contains chemicals that can create hallucination.

Interestingly, these cacti played an important part in religious ceremonies dating back thousands of years. 

Members of the Native American Church are permitted to use peyote in rituals of faith under the US Constitution. 
Another interesting variety was ‘jumping chola’. Considering the look of the cacti, which is divided into different segments, people used to believe that a segment of it breaks and sticks to anything passing by.

Based on the appearance, there was another variety called Melocactus also called Turkcactus with a protruding surface resembling the hat of Turkish dancers. 

Similarly, Astrophyton cacti, when viewed from front has a star-shaped appearance.
There was a section of cacti lacking chlorophyll yet replete with blooms.
A variety of it had thick yellow leaves while many had yellowish-greenish patches all over.
Interestingly, a species of primitive cacti which had small green leaves was an item of attraction, as cacti with leaves are hardly seen. 

Another interesting species was Discocactus, which was has disc at the top and flowers only in the night time!
In another hall, a variety of succulents were displayed. Like Agaves, the juice from its flower stalks is used to make an intoxicating drink known as tequila, while another variety is used for making mescal, an alcoholic beverage. 

Also, a variety of Aloe was also on display which has been used for pain-relief, anti-bacterial and tissue healing properties. 
Then there was Sedums which Native Americans, ancient Romans, Russian and Japanese grew on their doorways to safeguard against lightning and ward off evil. 
The much publicised variety of cacti Hoodia gordonii which is used as a diet suppressant was also on display.

It is a potential drug for weight and diabetes control. Interestingly, also on display was an African variety of cacti which had scores of fragments, each having a translucent top. Another variety was Eurphorbia. 
The wax from the stem of this cactus is used for making candles, soaps and ointments. 

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