26 December 2011

Cylindropuntia imbricata

In Adelaide I am collecting cacti. The climate here is a lot drier than Canberra (at least of late) and I have been seeing large opuntia everywhere.

Photo via Luigi FDV on Flickr (great gallery)
Staying with my sister I went for an early morning walk. Wandering past a yard in Rostrevor with a large specimen of this tough customer, I could see an old gentleman watching me from just over his back fence.

I went up to the plant, had a look and shouted out, "Beautiful plant." He eventually wandered over and told me it was over 20 years old. The cladodes (or pads as they are often called on the more common opuntia species, including the prickly pear) root readily where they fall to the ground and there were many offspring at the base of the two metre plus tall specimen.

He was happy for me to grab a few out of the ground and went off to get me a trowel and bag. His wife came out and introduced herself as Roma. I introduced myself as Alf and told her I was staying nearby, visiting my hometown and my mum is...etc.

Suddenly she exclaimed, "Alfie!" and gave me a big hug. Normie and Roma it seems knew me as a very young lad, when they were godparents to one of the best friends of my childhood. We hadn't seen each other since before they first bought this cactus. I remembered their names, but all else was vague.

Wonderful people and the quirkiness of this chance meeting brightened both our days.

Quite a set of coincidences.

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