This week Parodia buiningii takes us to South America. Each plant is an excuse to learn more about botany and geography, bouncing from continent to continent as the inspiration strikes. A succulent species represents millions of years of adaptation to specific ecological pressures in Mexico or the rest of North America, Africa, Madagascar… or this week, Uruguay and Brazil.
Parodia buiningii is also known by its synonym Notocactus buiningii. (All Notocactus species have been included under the genus Parodia, where they form a distinct clade: a group of related plants with evidence of descending from a common ancestor.)
Parodia buiningii is one of the most handsome members of the group formerly known as genus Notocactus: geometric ribs, glaucous blue-green skin, and needle-sharp spines the color of tortoise shell. This Parodia buiningii has advanced flower buds with characteristic brown wool. They look almost like fuzzy antlers on a young deer or strange rabbit ears. The flowers will be yellow. This individual is probably a few years old and measures approximately 3 inches across.
Notocactus buiningii grown and photographed by Mr Sentient Meat
Which country is it really from, you ask—Uruguay or Brazil? Well, Parodia buiningii is found near the unusual dual-nationality city: Rivera, the capital of the Rivera Department of Uruguay and (Santana do) Livramento, a city in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. In an uncommon arrangement, citizens of either country within the city can cross the border freely. Customs and checkpoints are located outside the city.
Parodia buiningii is reportedly rare in its habitat, the environs of these twin cities, Rivera, Uruguay, and Livramento, Brazil.
Closeup of same Notocactus buiningii grown and photographed by Mr Sentient Meat