Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Myrtillocactus geometrizans.
Scientific Name: Myrtillocactus geometrizans (Mart. ex Pfeiff.) Console, 1897
Origin: Japan. Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.
Common Names include: "Breast Cactus" or "Titty Cactus"
Description: The standard Myrtillocactus geometrizans (a.k.a "Blue Candle Cactus") is a very popular candelabra-like tree cactus often sold in garden centres widely used for grafting stock. Instead the Japanese cultivar Fukurokuryuzinboku' is a strange monstrous form and a very rare and priced collector item.
Its vernacular English names "Breast Cactus" or "Titty Cactus" comes from the particular shape of the tubercled ribs that resemble women breasts. This plant - apart from the breasts - is similar in all other features to the common "Blue Candle" and can grow up to 4.5 m tall, with the crown reaching up to 5 m in width.
Stems: Glaucous (blue grey) Up to 3 -10 cm thick. They have 5-8 strange chinned ribs, shaped like a woman's breast that are approximately 2.5 cm in depth with areoles about 3-5 cm apart.
Each monstrous ribs is bordered with irregularly pleaded longitudinal groves .
Spines: Each areole has approx to 4 small black spines, that are usually only a few mm long. But plants grown in full sun may have longer on stouter spines up to 2 cm long thought not awful.
Flowers & fruit: Rather smaller (2.5-3.7 cm) in relation to stem, greenish white in March, that turn in very sweet, edible, dark red, oblong fruits 8-20 mm in diameter. Starts blooming when it is about 60 cm tall.
Cultivation: They are semi hardy, make sure that your Myrtillocactus are not exposed to temperatures below -4°C or they may die, nevertheless it is a good advice never let the nighttimes temperatures fall below 10°C. Water regularly in summer but allow to dry fully before watering again. Need a well-drained soil mix with small gravel added to ensure drainage.. During the winter months they should be rather kept dry and water is restricted to only enough to keep the stems and branches from shrivelling. Since they are big sized plants need plenty of space for their roots, repotting should be done every other year or when the plant has outgrown its pot. Exposure: Light shade when young, full sun later.
Propagation: Cuttings in summer (Cuttings will root only in hot weather. Cuttings must be kept very dry to root)
If you are looking for a fast-growing cactus that can be the focal point of your indoor or outdoor garden, you should put the Myrtillocactus Geometrizans at the top of your list. This succulent is quite massive, and it has a very interesting shape when it reaches maturity.
Myrtillocactus Geometrizans goes by many names including Blue Torch, Blue Flame, Blue Candle, Bilberry Cactus, or Blue Myrtle Cactus. Unlike most succulents which take years to grow, this cactus is quite a fast grower and in proper conditions, it will reach maturity with minimum effort on your part.
Read on to learn more about growing, watering, planting, and propagating Myrtillocactus Geometrizans.
Accepted Scientific Name: Myrtillocactus geometrizans (Mart.) Console
Boll. Reale Orto Bot. Palermo 1897, 10.
Origin and Habitat: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar). The original natural habitat of this species is northern central Mexico down to Oaxaca.
Description: The standard Myrtillocactus geometrizans is a highly branched columnar candelabra like tree cactus that creates a dense growth of stems growing closely together. In nature grows up to 4.5 m tall, with the crown reaching up to 5 m in width.
Stems: Glaucous (blue grey) Up to 7-10 cm thick. They have 5-8 ribs that are approximately 2.5 cm in depth with areoles about 2.5 cm apart.
Spines: Each areole may have up to 5-9 spines, but generally they have 3-5 spines about 5-12 mm long. Some spines but not awful.
Flowers: Rather smaller (2.5-3.7 cm) in relation to stem, greenish white.
Blooming season: March. Starts blooming when it is about 60 cm tall.
Fruit: Very sweet, edible, dark red, oblong fruits 8-20 mm in diameter.
Remarks: There are several crested clones of Myrtillocactus geometrizans that have a tendency to fan out, some will form stable crests while others (the more common) just cluster over one another. Regardless, both types make for a spectacular landscape attraction.
Subspecies, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Myrtillocactus geometrizans group
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) Edward Anderson “The Cactus family” Timber Press, Incorporated, 2001
2) James Cullen, Sabina G. Knees, H. Suzanne Cubey "The European Garden Flora Flowering Plants: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass" Cambridge University Press, 11/Aug/2011
3) David R Hunt Nigel P Taylor Graham Charles International Cactaceae Systematics Group. "The New Cactus Lexicon" dh books, 2006
4) Urs Eggli, Leonard E. Newton: “Etymological Dictionary of Succulent Plant Names” Springer, Berlin/Heidelberg 2010
5) Christopher Brickell “RHS Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers” Dorling Kindersley Ltd, 01/Sep/2010
6) Willy Cullmann, Erich Götz (Dozent Dr.), Gerhard Gröner “The encyclopedia of cacti” Timber Press, 1987
7) Gerhard Gröner, Erich Götz “Beautiful Cacti: A Basic Grower's Guide” Sterling, 1992
8) Hecht “BLV Handbuch der Kakteen” BLV-Verlagsgesellschaft, 1982
9) E Haustein “Der Kosmos Kakteenfuehrer (the Kosmos Cactus Guide)” Balogh Scientific Books, United States, 01/Dec/1998
10) Sánchez , E., Guadalupe Martínez, J., Hernández, H.M., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C. & Cházaro, M. 2013. Myrtillocactus geometrizans. In: IUCN 2013. "IUCN Red List of Threatened Species." Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 28 April 2014.
11) Jules Janick, Robert E. Paull "The Encyclopedia of Fruit & Nuts" CABI, 2008
12) Clive Innes "Complete Handbook of Cacti and Succulents" Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 01/dic/1981