Contents of the Spring 2012 Northants News

                    Thelocactus repair or how to DIY                                       Anonymouse


Just a little trick for repairing damaged cactus; being clumsy and having a long spined Thelocactus hexaedrophorus aren’t always a good combination which resulted in a spine cluster (areole) getting knocked off. I tried ignoring it but felt guilty and was a bit disappointed with its bald spot.

Little trip to the house and a raid in the cupboard for some of the kids old PVA glue and hey presto, one repaired cactus that doesn’t need a paper bag on its head anymore, PVA glue is non toxic so there are no worries of damage or poisoning the plant.

I shall send this in anonymously as I don’t want any future show entries NAS.



 Thelocactus hexaedrophorus

Thelocactus hexaedrophorus

Above: The bald spot looking very sad for itself, PVA painted on, allow to get a bit tacky, then...  


Left: Place the spine the correct way up!




Thelocactus Repair   2               Trevor Wray

This anonymous contributor has immediately introduced a potential moral dilemma. I always thought there was a clause in the ‘Guide to Shows’ forbidding any "guise or ruse" in presenting an exhibit.

Now I can't find those words in the present Guide. Does that mean you can do any repairs to a show plant? I can’t think why it has never been broached at the Judges’ Course. Can they think that exhibiters never cheat? Is it cheating?

The old-timers used to write of filling holes with Plasticine and painting over scars. Everyone has heard how the wise men used to wash the hairy spines of the Old Man cactus, Cephalocereus, in Omo. (Gets ‘em whiter than white!) But is that a ruse? 

Good news is that this is just a baby hexaedrophorus, (although fiercely armed) and needs to be quite a bit larger to be a show plant. By that time the damage (and repair) will have disappeared at compost level.

But what if it were a show plant? I mean if the judge can't see the repair and gives it a prize or does see the repair and actually disqualifies the plant, (can they?), or just downgrades the plant because the areole is damaged. Goodness knows!

Thelocactus hexaedrophorus
Above: The finished repair and no one but Northants News readers (and a few million internet readers) any the wiser (smiley face) (Ed: I think I’ve got one of those!)

When judging exhibits most of the points are awarded for ‘Condition’ and ‘Maturity’ and judges look specifically for the lack of broken spines on cacti as one of the signs of a plant in good condition. Of course a really mature (or old) plant may pick up a few scars over the years but a lost areole in a prominent position is fairly drastic.

Thelocactus hexaedrophorus is the type species of the genus. It is very variable with several named varieties. Looking in John Pilbeam’s excellent handbook the type variety is illustrated with two plants which are so different in their spination as to hardly be the same species. It is potentially a large growing species but is quite slow. Although on this plant the spines are very prominent at the moment, it is like many large growing Gymnocalyciums in that they do not grow much longer and seem more in proportion to the plant as it matures.

Among the names associated with hexaedrophorus, ’fossulatus’ is the one for me. Sometimes considered a variety, it has a grey body and is especially slow growing.


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