Housed in the arid glass house at Missouri Botanic gardens, the Mr. 'T' cactus, is one of the most outrageous cactus specimens around. Looking like a competitive body builder in the process of striking a pose, the broad shoulders and flexing biceps of this impressive specimen make for a formidable and intimidating sight.
|The real Mr. T|
But this is no shrinking violent (apologies - violet) the spines that protrude the the body of this specimen can reach up to 3 inches long and will pierce your skin as soon as look at you!
Strictly speaking the Mr.T cactus isn't really a cactus but is in fact a spiny tropical succulent, botanical name Pachypodium lamerei. It is native to the island Madagascar, found to the east of the African continent. The plant bears large, fragrant flowers, and has become one of the best known pachypodiums in cultivation. It is often sold as the 'Madagascar Palm', despite the fact that its has no relation to any palm species all.
If you want to grow Pachypodium lamerei outside in the garden then as you would expect they will grow best in Mediterranean to tropical climates. Plant them in a free draining soil, positioned in full sun. It will not tolerate hard frosts, and will drop most of its leaves if exposed to even a light frost. In cooler northern European climates they are easily grown indoors as houseplants. Plant them in a terracotta pot using a good quality, free-draining compost such as a proprietary cactus mix. Again they will require as sunlight as you can provide. Only water once the top couple of inches of compost has dried out and never let the roots become waterlogged.
Pachypodium lamerei gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in 2002.
The Mr.T name was coined by me so please accept my apologies for the terrible pun. However, the name fits well in so far as the cactus is indeed 'T' shaped, and shares a similar physique. For those of you who are too young to know who the original Mr. T was, he was, and still is an American actor.
He is best known for his role in the American action-adventure television series the 'A' Team. Mr. T played the team's strong man and mechanic, Sergeant First Class Bosco 'B. A.' (meaning 'Bad Attitude') Baracus.
For related articles click onto the following links:
CHRISTMAS CACTUS CARE
ECHINOCACTUS GRUSONII - The Golden Barrel Cactus
EUPHORBIA OBESA - The baseball plant
How to Grow the Brain Cactus
HOW TO GROW AECHMEA FASCIATA
HOW TO GROW ECHINOCACTUS GRUSONII FROM SEED
PEYOTE - Lophophora williamsii
The Brain Cactus - Mammillaria elongata 'Cristata'
THE EYEBALL PLANT - Actaea pachypoda
THE GHOST PLANT - Monotropa uniflora
THE HAPPY ALIEN PLANT - Calceolaria uniflora
THE 'HOOKER'S LIPS' PLANT
HOOKER'S LIPS PLANT - Psychotria elata
THE LIZARD VINE
The Mr T Cactus
THE ORCHID CACTUS - Disocactus ackermannii
WHAT HAS THE CHRISTMAS CACTUS GOT TO DO WITH CHRISTMAS?