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I don’t take many photographs of my plants early in the year but, as I was preparing for a new talk on small Opuntiads in 2012, I had reason to look at my plants in closer detail. I took a photograph of a plant of Austrocylindropuntia floccosa HS30a on 18th March 2012 (fig.8). This is a form which has strong brown spines and copious white hairs making it attractive most of the time; it was first collected by Heinz Swoboda (of Sulcorebutia fame) back in 1983 at Morochata in the Cochabamba department of Bolivia. A month later on 21st April 2012, the day before I gave the talk for the first time, I went back and looked at the plants again gasped “What’s that – a flower bud?” Indeed it was (fig. 9)! Yet another month later on 22nd May 2012, the flower opened (fig. 10). This is the first time any of my A. floccosa has flowered, and this was on a small plant in a 6cm pot. I don’t think it is a species that flowers often in the UK, so I would be very interested to hear the experiences of others.

Tony Roberts.