Brain Shaped Plants

Edward K. Gilding egilding at
Tue Nov 28 09:57:59 EST 1995

In article <493pjq$bc4 at>, nen at says...
>        Does anyone have any recommendation for plants which are look 
>like brains?  I have a small cactus which looks very much like a brain, 
>and had a Celosia, or Chinese Woolflower which resembled a soft, fuzzy 
>yellow brain, but it just reached the end of its annual career. I got 
>five or six seeds out of it so may be able to grow some next year.
>        If you've seen or heard of any other plants which produce 
>roundish convoluted brainlike structures I'd like to hear of them.  It's 
>just such a funny idea.  
>        Thanks,
>        N
I think the best cactus that looks like a brain is Mammilaria cv. "Fred"

Its a monstrose, crested mutant that looks like a bright green brain that 
"oozes" new growth.

Really odd.  It is nearly spinless too so you can see the plant itself 
and all of its odd forms and lines.  It is rather tricky but you should 
grow it fine if you have a layer of gravel on the top of the soil to 
reduce the risk of rot.  You can get it from (I dont work here, have any 
interest in or frequent this company, but I did order from them a few 
	Grisby Cactus Garden
	2326 Bella Vista Drive
	Vista, CA 92084 USA

A number of other cacti are brain shaped.  Cacti seem to tolerate the two 
contditions "Monstrosity" and "Fascination" or "crest".  A Monstrosity is 
just that, something that generally has a contorted odd look.  Plants 
"afflicted" by monstrosity tend to have less than usual spines, or in 
some cases a complete lack of them.  Crests are when the apical meristem 
becomes a long flattened shape.  The growing point is not a single spot, 
but has grown into a long line.  This usually causes the cactus "pancake" 
of sorts to fold back upon itself giving the appearence of a "brain".

There is another succulent (NOT a cactus, but a succulent) known as 
Euphorbia.  It has milky sap and a variety of forms.  There is a form of 
monstrose/crested Euphorbia being destributed that looked like a brain 
for me when it was young but now looks like some kind of bizzare coral 
formation.  I think you can get this from the above mentioned address 

There are a multitude of crested/monstrose cacti out there.

Good luck
egilding at

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