Tephrocactus articulatus inermis
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Tephrocactus articulatus (inermis and strombiliformis)
Finally, there are two forms that have no central spines at all (or perhaps just a very occasional one). These I have separated as inermis and strombiliformis although these names are sometimes used synonymously. The plant which I grow as T. articulatus (inermis) has pale green chunky, cylindrical segments (5-7cm) which are well attached to each other resulting in a quite robust and stocky plant (fig. 8). In contrast, T articulatus (strombiliformis) has segments which are more like an ellipsoid in shape and are more blue-grey in colour. Sometimes with this form, the segments are rather indeterminate and a considerably longer column results. It forms a plant of similar size to T. articulatus (inermis) but rather than illustrate this, I show you one of my propagation experiments (fig. 9). Here, I have taken a single segment of this clone, sliced it in half vertically, and then grafted each half horizontally onto a stock of O. elata. Very quickly new segments are produced which can be removed every few months and rooted down as new plants – a somewhat quicker method I find than taking segments from a plant on its own roots.