Tuesday, September 30, 2014

I've seen the devil and he has “fuzzy” brown spots...

We’d just sat down to dinner when there was a knock at the door. Ready with my standard “no thank you we don’t need whatever it is you’re selling” speech I was surprised to see my friend, and fellow garden blogger, Anna smiling back at me. That’s when I remembered a previous conversation we'd had…she’d gone dumpster diving and was bringing me the spoils!

Anna works at Drake’s 7 Dees and the orange spotted opuntia had finally misbehaved one time too many which caused her co-hort, William, to give it the heave-ho (misbehaved = covered him in painful glochids). Anna being the soft-hearted individual she is couldn't stand to see a perfectly good plant be tossed and asked me if I wanted to rescue it, of course! Sadly it had gotten pretty banged up...

It came with a surprise, something you don't see everyday: a fern growing out of the bottom of a container of opuntia.

This is the label I found inside the pot. Not terribly helpful but at least it told me it wasn't hardy (the plant had been kicking around the nursery for ages, pre-Anna, pre-William, who knows how old the label is)...

A little further down (when I was still under the illusion I'd be repotting this guy) I found this one. Try looking that name up online, you get absolutely nothing. I'm going with Opuntia microdasys.

The new pads are so beautiful, but I quickly decided there was no way I was going to wrestle the plant out of the container. Why? This thing is PURE EVIL!!! (and thus the name of the post)

Those cute brown polka-dots turn to a fine (sharp) fuzz that gets everywhere. EVERWHERE. I decided the only way to deal with it and not end up in the ER was to hold the pads with tongs and cut them off near the base, let them callus over and then (carefully) replant them.

There are a thousand filaments of pain per square centimeter right there, trust me...

Here's the plant post surgery.

When it comes time to replant I will be wearing long sleeves and disposable gloves. And reminding myself to not breath in while doing it!

The other plant Anna brought was a Opuntia engelmannii var. linguiformis, I much prefer their long, lethal, but quite obvious spikes and limited glochids...

Thank you for the painful plants Anna!

All material © 2009-2014 by Loree Bohl for danger garden. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited and just plain rude.

47 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. So you don't want me to bring you any pieces?

      Delete
  2. Anything with that many glochids has to be a plant-it-once-and-stay-away-forever thing, nowhere that a curious visitor (2 or 4-legged) could be tempted. Also somewhere that you won't need to do much in the soil. How long does it take for glochids to break down?

    (Also, not an agave -- that second paragraph threw me. I hate when the brain says one thing and the fingers disagree!)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great typo catch there, and description of how it happens! I still can't type "plans" it always comes out "plants" cause that's what my fingers want to type.

      Glochids breaking down...I have no idea. Not fast enough?

      Delete
  3. That's high not-praise, coming from you!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anna knew exactly the right home for those two! (and sorry, I can't help you with any distribution: no cactus spikes allowed at Longview Ranch.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This take it to another level, I'm not even sure I could describe them as spikes. At least with a spike you can see what you need to grab a hold of.

      Delete
  5. Wow - you're a glutton for punishment. I'd only have to look at that plant and I'd get a bunch of stickers in my hand.

    ReplyDelete
  6. You're either very brave or foolish.

    And I don't think it's the latter.

    Have fun!

    ReplyDelete
  7. You're making me rethink the very similar Opuntia I planted in a pot near the front door recently. Not near enough to bump accidentally, but still.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh near the front door, that's sending a definite message! I wondered when I filled a pot next to our front door with opuntia, if anyone would accidentally insure themselves (the mailman for instance). So far so good.

      Delete
  8. How about Opuntia rufida? As per Wikipedia:

    The very closely related Opuntia rufida differs in having reddish-brown glochids. It occurs further north in northern Mexico, and into western Texas. Some botanists treat the two as a single species.

    In any case, I had one once and got rid of it because the fluffy glochids kept falling off and getting me each time I got near.

    I MUCH prefer the linguiformis--thank you bringing me a pad.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Or as Shirley suggests Opuntia microdasys rufida? Yes with the linguiformis it's much more obvious what you're getting.

      Delete
  9. That is frightening!!! be very very careful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will, to much bare arm skin last time resulted in some pain.

      Delete
  10. Let's hear it for the S&M branch of gardening.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Yikes! That looks like the inspiration for fiberglass insulation, if you ask me!

    Lovely plant otherwise, but wow, it really doesn't want to be handled, does it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, exactly!

      I can't imagine handling it. That would be a nightmare.

      Delete
    2. Nightmare to end all nightmares, I would think.

      Hopefully, where ever you end up planting it, it thoroughly loves and won't ever need to be moved.}:)

      Delete
    3. That's the tricky part! It's got to go in a container because it's not hardy. A container which will have to be moved in the spring and in the fall...

      Delete
  12. I swear some of them can throw those glochids across the garden to get you! Was the dumpster really such a bad place for the this painful devil?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, I certainly can understand William's action. I'll let you know if I ever repeat it. I can tell you I'll be keeping away from Lila.

      Delete
  13. Cinnamon Bunny Ears or Opuntia macrodasys rufida. I didn't know that they are sometimes different species. It's my favorite opuntia and did survive down to 20F last winter which is better than I can say for the Alba.

    Nice find as that color is not as easy to find as the other two varieties. Looks great in a terra cotta pot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shirley, both for the name confirmation as well as the temperature report.

      Delete
  14. Ouch, ouch and double ouch!!! I've had one of those, and know exactly what you mean. It looks innocuous enough until you get some of those tiny orange spikes in your hand and they just don't come out. Good luck mate..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't even see the ones that were in my skin. I could feel them but didn't even know where to start as far as taking them out.

      Delete
  15. Glochids, ugh! Brave and determined lady you are, and kind too to rescue those opuntias :) might be worth considering wearing a disposable overalls when repotting it for extra protection? Those glochids looks so soft and innocent when they are definitely not....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Reminds me of the story of a friend discovering her son "petting" the cactus at Cistus, yikes! A tiny hand full of glochids.

      Disposable overalls, like a hazmat suit? I love the idea.

      Delete
  16. Oy. It does look a little fuzzier than microdaysis. Mine is planted where I can't get at it, which is the right strategy.

    Your blog name says it all, right?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oweeeeee! I remember all too well the trouble these cause. I remember even lying in bed and every time I moved my leg and the sheets brushed it I could feel all the little spines sticking out. Ughhhhhh. Tongs are a great idea. And only touching it on non-windy days!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the sheets always find the ones you missed don't they! Good reminder about the wind, thank you.

      Delete
  18. Scary, kids, scary. You know what you're doing, though, so now these plants have the perfect home. Congratulations!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks PP, at least I pretend to know what I'm doing...

      Delete
  19. Ouch! I'm surprised to see a plant that scares even you (if just a little bit).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Contrary to what many may believe I don't actually like pain, not a bit.

      Delete
  20. I have that same devil over here and have brushed against it one too many times.

    ReplyDelete
  21. PS. My label says O. microdasys var. rufida, sometimes called cinnamon cactus.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Haha - and here I thought for sure it would become your new favorite and you'd be taking it to bed with you! No seriously - I like Pam's idea of sticking it by the front door. That way, you wouldn't have to have your dinner interrupted by all these crazy people... Per William - I showed him your post, and he says he still gets stung just by rustling around in the area where it used to be. You are right - it is evil indeed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With Halloween coming up it would certainly make a statement by the front door!

      Delete
    2. WORST PLANT EVER!! I THOUGHT IT WAS SO CUTE WHEN I BOUGHT IT - WHAT DID I KNOW? I HAD SOMEONE REMOVE IT FROM MY FRONT YARD, IT WAS GROWING LIKE CRAZY, BUT THEN, I MADE THE MISTAKE OF TRYING TO SWEEP UP THE AREA - OMG - SUFFERED FOR DAYS AFTERWARD!!!

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to comment. Comment moderation is on (because you know: spam), I will approve and post your comment as soon as possible!