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Arkham’s Botanical offers a massive selection of cacti seeds and plants, including several popular cristata and monstrosa (monstrose) mutant forms! Mutations like these occur variously due to bacterial or viral disease or mechanical injury. Variegation is another mutation which you may have heard of that can produce some amazingly attractive freak cacti. These mutations can also happen in many non-succulent plants, although seemingly much more rarely.
If you’ve never heard of the term before, cristation is not uncommon in the cactus world, with upward of fifty genera currently recognised to exhibit this strange growth trait. Nice examples of this are the several fantastically weird, crested and fan-like Trichocereus cristata that make the rounds in Europe and the USA. Generally a bit more vulnerable to over-watering than standard forms, cristata cacti mostly seem to originate from damage to a plant’s growing tip, causing the surrounding tissue to grow more rapidly – resulting in the unique, brain-like forms distinctive of the type. This growth mutation is usually permanent, although can sometimes be just a temporary phase for the plant.
Monstrose growth occurs when a plant’s growth tips all attempt to grow as if they were the dominant one, resulting in the uniquely bulbous and lumpy plants popular with cactus collectors everywhere. Great examples of this are the two or three Trichocereus bridgesii monstrose forms available on the commercial market.