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Melocactus - kakti bit-turbant

minn George Borg Marks

L-isem ta’ dan il-genus inghata minn Link u Otto fl-1827 lill-grupp ta’ erba’ kakti li illum ma baqax hlief wiehed minnhom maghruf bhala Melocactus. L-ewwel studju serju li sar fuq il-Melocactus kien dak ta’ Miguel fl-1840 fejn dan gabar flimkien 34 speci differenti. Hafna minn dawn illum huma sinonimi ta’ Melocactus macranthos jew M. intortus u sitta biss minn xi tletin speci li huma accettati illum kienu maghrufa dak iz-zmien.

Melocactus concinnus

Britton u Rose komplew ziedu aktar speci ghal habta ta’ l-1922. Ma tantx zdiedu speci ohra sa’ l-1970, izda f’dawn l-ahhar tletin sena sar hafna tiftix fil-Brazil u fil-Venezwela minn hafna studjuzi u dawn iddeskrivew hafna speci godda. Melocacti ohra nstabu fil-Messiku tal-Punent, fil-Peru u l-aktar fil-gzejjer tal-Karibew bhal Aruba, Kuba. Puerto Rico u ohrajn. B'dan naraw il l-ispeci ta' dan il-genus jikbru fuq l-akbar medda t'art mill-genera kollha tal-kaktus, bl-eccezzjoni ta' l-Opuntia.

Il-Melocactus huma normalment xtieli globulari, kultant ftit tawwalin ukoll. Huma maghmula minn hafna kustilji armati sew b’xewk iebes. Dan jaghti dehra sabiha lix-xtieli l-aktar dawk zghar. Huma jibqghu bla frieghi sakemm il-quccata ma tintlaqatx jew b’xi mod issirlha xi hsara. F’kazi bhal dawn, huma johorgu hafna frieghi minn hafna partijiet tax-xitla.

Melocactus albicephalus

Fil-maggoranza tal-membri ta’ dan il-genus, irid jghaddi ftit zmien mhux hazin sakemm ix-xitla timmatura u tibda taghmel il-fjuri. Meta jasal dan il-waqt, ix-xitla tieqaf milli tikber u tibda tifforma qisu turban tat-torok fuq il-quccata. Botanikament, dan inghata l-isem ta’ cephalium, li tigi mill-kelma bil-Latin li tfisser ras. Dan ic-cephalium ikun maghmul minn xewk zghir, normalment ahmar, kannella jew orangjo, flimkien ma kwantita kbira ta’ suf abjad li jghaqqad kollox tant li c-cephalium ikun iebes hafna. M. matanzanus u M. violaceus jistghu jaghmlu cephalium bejn sentejn u erbgha snin minn mindu jinzerghu filwaqt li ohrajn jiehdu ferm iktar. Dawn it-tnejn, meqjusa bhala xtieli li jibqghu zghar, jikbru sa xi ghaxar centimetri fid-dijametru filwaqt li ohrajn, bhal M. intortus u M. pachyacanthus , instabu sa gholi ta’ xi metru meta tinkludi c-cephalium.

Melocactus matanzanus

Mic-cephalium johorgu il-fjuri zghar, normalment ta’ lewn ahmar jew roza. Fi stagun, tohrog kwantita kbira ta’ fjuri. Haga interessanti hi li dawn il-fjuri jizviluppaw gewwa c-cephalium u jibdew jispuntaw xi 24 siegha biss qabel jifthu. Il-fjuri jikbru malajr, jifthu tard filghodu jew kmieni wara nofs in-nhar u jaghlqu fil-ghaxija. Dawn ma jkollomx riha u, meta jinxfu, jibqghu maqbuda goc-cephalium u ma jaqghux. Hafna jiddakkru wahidhom filwaqt li l-ohrajn jiddakkru minn ghasafar b’munqar twil, nahal jew sahansitra friefet, kollha armati sew biex ikunu jistghu jilhqu l-gewwieni tal-fjuri. B’hekk, fl-ahhar ta’ l-istagun, ix-xitla tispicca b’kuruna ta’ frott kbira mhux hazin. Il-frott, normalment ahmar jew roza (ghalkemm jista jkun abjad ukoll bhal dak ta’ M. azureus), hafna drabi tinbezaq minn gos-suf sfiq tac-cephalium u tispicca biex taqa ma’ l-art hdejn ix-xitla, lesta biex tingarr jew tittiekel.

Melocactu brooderoianus

Peress li frieghi ma jaghmlux, dawn ix-xtieli jitnisslu miz-zerriegha. Din tikber ferm tajjeb u fi ftit zmien, dawn isiru xtieli mdaqqsa u armati b’xewk sabih ukoll. Minn hawn ‘il quddiem, ix-xtieli jikbru sew, sakemm dawn jithawwlu f’kompost poruz biex wiehed jizgura li l-ilma joskula tajjeb wara t-tisqija. Wiehed irid jiftakar li fl-abitat, dawn jikbru f’postijiet bi klima tropikali, hafna drabi hdejn il-bahar, fejn hemm umdita kbira u shana kwazi kostanti s-sena kollha. Huwa ghalhekk importanti li il-Melocactus jitpoggew ghal kenn, specjalment fix-xitwa. Dawn m’humiex xtieli ta’ barra u ghandhom jitpoggew fl-aktar post shun tas-serra. Fis-sajf wiehed ghandu jizgura li jkollhom ventilazzjoni tajba, filwaqt li matul ix-xhur tax-xitwa, f’xi gurnata bnazzi filghodu, xi darba fix-xahar, jaghti ftit ilma biex b’hekk ma jitilfux l-gheruq u ma tantx joghlbu. Meta jkunu zghar, tajjeb li wiehed jibdel il-kompost kull sentejn biex b’hekk ix-xtieli jibqghu jikbru tajjeb. Huwa importanti li ma jitilfux l-gheruq ghax jien sibt li ftit difficli biex jergghu johorguhom la darba jithallew niexfa hafna jew wara xi attakk ta’ xi insetti li jghixu ma l-gheruq (root mealy bug). M’hemmx ghalfejn nghidu li c-cephalium m’ghandux jintlaqat jew jixxarrab, sew biex jibqa sabih kif ukoll biex ma jkunx hemm cans li jsir xi tahsir tax-xitla.

Dawn il-ftit regoli hfief ghandhom jghinu li min jinteressa ruhu biex ikabbar dawn ix-xtieli ferm interessanti minghajr hafna problemi u biex jgawdihom ghal hafna snin. Il-forom taghhom b’dak ix-xewk b’sahhtu u b’kuliri ferm sbieh u kif ukoll meta jaghmlu c-cephalium jaghmlu dan il-genus wiehed uniku fid-dinja tal-kaktus.


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