About me

About me
🌿 I've been gardening ever since a child, when I spent time with my father in his vegetable garden. But my fascination with Echeverias started in the 1980's, when my father gave me a pot with five Echeverias, which turned out to be E. imbricata. At first I wasn't much interested in them and planted them in some obscure corner of the garden and completely forgot about them. How great was my surprise when, a couple of months later, I noticed that they had spread and made a beautiful display - I was hooked!
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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Eve's Needle


(Austrocylindropuntia subulata)
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Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee)
Genus: Austrocylindropuntia (oss-troh-sil-in-droh-PUN-tee-uh)
Species: subulata (sub-yoo-LAH-tuh)


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In February 2014, my dear friend Elizabeth Kendall sent me a tiny piece of this Eve’s Needle through the post. Unknown to us, the Post Office was on strike and after a month of being missing in action, the parcel finally arrived with the poor little Eve’s Needle definitely looking worse for the wear. I immediately prepared a pot with some good soil, ample drainage and carefully transplanted her to her new home. Now, almost 8 months later, she has transformed into a beautiful specimen, standing almost 40cm (15") tall.


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Austrocylindropuntia subulata is a large tree-like cactus, up to 13 feet (4 m) tall with round cylindrical joints, up to 2 feet (60 cm) tall and 1.5 – 2.5 inches (4 – 6.5 cm) thick. The green leaves are nearly cylindrical, up to 5 inches (13 cm) long. The spines are light yellow, 1 – 2 per areole, up to 3 inches (8 cm) long. The flowers are red, 2 – 4 inches (5 – 10 cm) long, followed by reddish to red fruits up to 4 inches (10 cm) long.


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This plant is suitable for growing indoors or in containers, is drought-tolerant and produces beautiful red blooms. Needs regular watering but be careful not to over-water.

 Eve spent a couple of days under cover as we had a lot of rain over the past two days
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Native to the higher elevations of Ecuador and Peru, this plant was originally introduced to South Africa for the biological control of Opuntia ficus-indica, Eve’s Needle has been declared a Category 1 weed in South Africa as it is a great invader. When the plant gets top-heavy, pieces break off and take root where they fall, soon forming a dense wall of cactus killing anything that grows in its path. So I will be very careful to contain Eve in her pot, trimming regularly and keeping an eye out for any fallen leaves, needles or little pieces that might break off.



UPDATE : My Eve's Needle in March 2016, ready to be planted into a suitable spot in the garden where it will be easily controlled so that it doesn't spread as it is regarded as a bit of a pest here in South Africa. I also found this information that The Eve's needle will rarely bloom in cultivation, but when it does, it produces long, coppery red, showy blooms. Its fruit is oblong with small spines.

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9 comments:

  1. I have an Eves Needle about 14 yrs old now...
    Its approximately 6 ft now, but I have NEVER seen a flower or fruit on it
    How often does it produce?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown, I've had many Eve's Needles over the years, some for as long as 28 years, and I have also never seen a flower. I have found one picture on Google, which you can see here : http://www.virboga.de/Austrocylindropuntia_subulata.htm.

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  2. Hi, I have a well established Eve's Needle that I just got. It has been living outdoors in a pot in Phoenix valley. I live up in Prescott area and feel the winters might get too cold, so I have it indoors now in front of a window. Will it live ok indoors or should I keep it outside as long as it doesn't get too cold at night? I don't want to shock it. I just love it. Any advice would be helpful. Thank you

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    Replies
    1. Hi Earth Hippie, I am not familiar with your climate and how cold it gets, but my Eve's Needle has survived many a winter outside (up to -2℃), sometimes even in heavy frost, but when it got a bit severe, I did bring her under cover, but still outside. If your Eve gets enough light inside, I would suggest keeping her inside till the worst of the cold is over.

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  3. My potted Eve"s Needle was doing great for the past 6 months, now the needles are drooping! Help!! I live in the Phoenix Arizona area. Thank You

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    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous, I don't know anything about your weather but I seem to think it is a very hot place. The only time my Eve's Needle has ever drooped was when I completely forgot to water her (she was also in a pot). I immediately gave her a good watering and with a little help by lifting her with a stick every couple of days, she was soon back to full health. I hope this is also your problem, other than that I do not know what to say. Regards

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  4. Are these needles dangerous when pricked? I think one went deep into my finger today and is swollen and sore. Will this run its course or is there need to see a doctor?

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    Replies
    1. Like all cactus pricks, the prick of Eve's Needle is extremely sore Unknown. It is not normally necessary to see a doctor, but if the swelling gets any worse it will probably be best to let the doctor have a look at it as usually a prick leaves a bit of the needle behind in the finger and it might have to be removed.

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    2. I stepped on one and it took 3 months to get all of it out.

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