Cristates and Monsters

One of the prettiest of the crested Euphorbias, Euphorbia lactea variegata cristata. The Aurora Borealis in wax.

     Cristate (or Crested) and Monstrose plants are fascinating freaks of nature. Normal plants usually grow from a single point at the tip of the stem, or an areole in the case of cacti that branch or offset. Cristate plants grow along many points along a line that usually undulates and twists. Monstrose plants grow from random points and usually produce plants that are assymetrical and covered in knobby bumps and whorls. This produces some very interesting effects. When this occurs along with variegation a spectacular plant can be produced, such as the variegated crested Cereus ferbambuscensis below. Many of these plants can be strangely beautiful and for this reason are highly desired and prized by collectors.
     The mechanism behind Cristation and Monstrosity is not entirely understood. It can be a natural mutation. It is also thought that damage to the growth point by insects or disease can produce it. But no one has successfuly produced the effect artificially. Some plants actually can seem to exhibit chracteristics of both phenomena. Many Crested and Monstrose plants are often grafted to speed growth and make them hardier and easier to grow. Some can't be grown any other way.

Aeononium crest.jpg
Something I never saw before, a crested Aeononium "Schwartskopf"
Astrophytum 'Lotus Land'.jpg
A monstrose cultivar of Astrophytum myriostigma called "Lotus Land"
Astrophytum koutshubayanus monstrose.jpg
An extremely rare variegated and monstrose form of Astrophytum kotschoubeyanus
Cereus fernambucensus crest.jpg
Crested and monstrose? Cereus fernambucensis
Cereus hildmannianus monstrose.jpg
A monstrose Cereus hildmannianus miniature known as "Ming Thing"
Cereus hildmannianus monstrose02.jpg
A fixture in my garden, monstrose Cereus hildmannianus, large size
Cereus spegazzinii crest01.jpg
One of my favorites, a Cereus spegazzinii crest turned purple by sun
Cereus spegazzinii crest02.jpg
The same plant earlier in the season
Cereus spegazzinii crest03.jpg
A closer view of the beautifully marbled blue stems
Cereus spegazzinii crest04.jpg
A nearly normal cutting and a crested cousin.
Cereus spegazzinii crest05.jpg
Another pair of cuttings I call "The Horseheads"
Cleistocactus winteri crest01.jpg
A Cleistocactus winteri crest in my yard that unfortunately rotted
Cleistocactus winteri crest02.jpg
Another Cleistocactus winteri crest that I de-grafted
Crested Cereus.jpg
A small Crested Cereus that I de-grafted
Crested Cereus02.jpg
Probably a cousin of the previous plant, a crested Cereus fernambucensis
Crested Cereus03.jpg
Another view of the same plant in different light
Crested Cereus04.jpg
A more compact variety of the same plant
Crested Echinopsis.jpg
Crested Echinopsis or Mammilaria?
Crested Espostoa.jpg
A very large specimen of crested Espostoa at B&B Cactus Farm
Crested Euphorbia.jpg
An unidentified crested Euphorbia, also at B&B
Crested grouping.jpg
A group of crests planted together
Crested myrtillocactus.jpg
A Crested myrtillocactus geometrizans I degrafted
Cylindropuntia fulgida ssp. mammilata01.jpg
Gotten in a trade with a friend in Phoenix a Cylindropuntia fulgida ssp. mammilata crest
Cylindropuntia fulgida ssp. mammilata02.jpg
Another specimen of the same plant
Cylindropuntia fulgida ssp. mammilata03.jpg
A view from the other side
Echeveria setosa crest01.jpg
Either an Echeveria setosa or perhaps an Echevria "Doris Taylor" crest
Echeveria setosa crest02.jpg
A view from the top of the same plant
Echinocereus pectinatus crest01.jpg
A grafted Echinocereus pectinatus crest
Echinocereus pectinatus crest02.jpg
A closeup view of the interesting spination
Espostoa ritterii crest.jpg
A grafted Espostoa ritterii crest
Euphorbia flanagannii crest.jpg
A Euphorbia flanagannii crest
Euphorbia lactea crest2.jpg
An unvariegated Euphorbia lactea crest at B&B Cactus Farm
Euphorbia lactea crest3.jpg
A huge variegated grafted Euphorbia lactea crest at Bachs Cactus Nursery
Euphorbia lactea crest4.jpg
A second one at the same place
Leuchtenbergia principis monstrose01.jpg
A grafted Leuchtenbergia principis monstrose from Miles Anderson
Leuchtenbergia principis monstrose02.jpg
Another view of the same plant
Mammillaria 'Fred'01.jpg
A monstrose cultivar of Mammillaria bocasana just called "Fred"
Mammillaria 'Fred'02.jpg
A closer view of the growth points of the plant
Mammillaria cristate.jpg
An unidentified Mammillaria crest at B&B cactus Farm
Mammillaria geminispina crest.jpg
A giant clump of Mammillaria geminispina with some cresting at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix
Opuntia subulata crest.jpg
Cylindropuntia subulata crests At Tanque Verde Gardens
Rebutia canuigeralii crest01.jpg
A grafted Rebutia canuigeralii crest from Miles Anderson
Rebutia canuigeralii crest02.jpg
Another view of the same plant
Rebutia caunegerallii crest01.jpg
Trying to root a piece of it
Rebutia einsteinii crest.jpg
A Rebutia einsteinii crest from Miles Anderson
Rebutia einsteinii crest01.jpg
Another view in different light
Unknown Crest.jpg
An Unknown Crest at a TCSS Show
All images and text are copyright 2006-7 D.S. Franges, unless otherwise noted.