Crested cactus discovery

I am back in Texas visiting family and enjoying the local flora, mostly around Comal County. The native cacti in this area are generally Opuntia species and Echinocereus reichenbachii (my ID, so take it with a grain of salt). I am particularly fond of E. reichenbachii, seen below.
And a small village of E. reichenbachii.
The size and shape of the cactus varies but always appears attributable to growing conditions in each site. That was until today, when I found a crested form!
From another angle, note the three normal growths at the top and the mutated squiggle towards the bottom right.
Nurseries frequently offer crested forms of cactus and euphorbia, but I have never discovered the mutation growing naturally in the wild. Judging by looks, there is not much economic potential (and obviously I would not remove it in any case). The plant certainly looks very healthy, despite its unusual growth pattern.

4 comments:

  1. What a cool find. I heard somewhere that crested forms do appear naturally but usually revert to typical growth which then takes over unless it's cut off.

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    1. That makes sense given variegated mutations frequently revert. I added the cactus to my "plant map" and will monitor its growth pattern whenever I am in the area again, fingers crossed a deer does not kick it in the meantime!

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  2. It's kinda cute, in a mutant sort of way...

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    1. Perhaps I did not give its looks enough credit, so many crested/monstrose cacti are a tad scary or disturbing, but this one is definitely a friendly-looking oddity!

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