Melocactus bahiensis (Britton & Rose) Luetzelb.
Melocactus bahiensis subsp. bahiensis, Melocactus bahiensis f. bahiensis
Melocactus bahiensis is a small cactus with a ribbed stem capped by a cephalium with wool and brown bristles. The stem is light to dark green, globose, and up to 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter. The cephalium is mostly small with many brown bristles, up to 2 inches (5 cm) tall and up to 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter. Spines are short, curved, off-white, except in the center where the new ones are yellow, reddish-brown, dark brown to black, often bent or even hooked in juvenile specimens. Fowers are pink, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long, and up to 0.5 inches (1.3 cm) in diameter. Fruits are red to crimson on the top, white or pale pink at the base, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) long and 0.4 inch (1 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 30 °F (−1.1 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Melocactus are somewhat finicky cacti with unusual requirements. They shouldn't be allowed to completely dry out even in winter, and they can suffer from soil composition, drainage, water level, sun, and more factors that are difficult to control. For that reason, these plants are best for growers who already have had some success cultivating cacti. Establish a balance with good aeration matched by ample water, good soil matched by good drainage, and these plants should continue to grow. If they are grown successfully, their unusual tops make them among the more beautiful of desert cacti.
Notably, Melocactus like to be fairly packed in, so keep them in a fairly small container that slightly constricts their roots. Repotting them at the beginning of the growing season is a good idea until they form cephalia and the body stops growing, and they should be repotted like other cacti. See more at: How to Grow and Care for Melocactus.
Melocactus bahiensis is native to eastern Brazil.
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