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  Notocactus scopa
(Syn: Parodia scopa)

Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

Notocactus scopa (Locality: Laguna Garzon)
It has very pretty, soft, silvery-white, fir-like spines, often with red centrals. The exciting lemon-yellow flowers with pale anthers and scarlet stigma open during the day and close at night.

Morphology (Identifying Characteristics):
Silvery green cactus often clustering with showy yellow flowers. The stems are almost hidden by soft tufts of bristly spines somewhat similar to small brushes. The
mixture of white and red-brown spines, varying from plant to plant.
Stem: Dark green, at first globular, becoming bit columnar to clavate with age, depressed apically, up to 45 cm tall, 6-10 cm in diameter.
Ribs: 25-30 (sometime up to 40 or more) low, obtuse, finely notched into low warts tipped with areoles, which may spiral slightly.
Areoles: White woolly.

Central spines: About 4 (but varying from 2 to 12) medium length (6-12 mm long), needle-like, stouter than radials, purple, red-brown, orangish or white.
Radial spines: Shorter, fine, bristles-like, glassy white or yellowish, 5-7 mm long, spreading around.
Flower: A cluster of satiny, bright yellow flowers spring in the upper part of the stem forming a ring, The are 2-4 cm long and 3,5-4,5 cm in diameter. Inner perianth segments in two overlapping series, spatulate, rather wide for their length, ± toothed above, Pistil with about 10, rayed, bright crimson stigma lobes. Tube short. Scales on the ovary woolly with brown bristles.
Blooming: seson: June-July.
Fruit: Globose, about 7 mm in diameter, opening at maturity, with numerous seeds.
Seeds: Dull black tuberculate.

ssp. scopa: Ribs 30-40, central spines 4, radial spines glassy white more than 40. Origin: Southern Brazil and Paraguay.
ssp. marchesii: Ribs 19-28, central spines 2-4, radial spines about 40. Origin: Uruguay.
Ssp. neobuenekeri: Ribs: 18-21, central spines 6-12 stout. Origin: Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil.
ssp. succinea: Ribs 18-24, central spine 8-12, Radial spines 15-30 often yellowhish. Origin: Rio Grande do Sul. Brazil.

Photo and © copyright by Andrea B. (Bologna, Italy)

It has very pretty, soft, white, fir-like spines, often with red centrals. The satiny and canary-yellow flowers are born on apical clusters and form rings, they open during the day and close at night.




Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery NOTOCACTUS



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific Name: Notocactus scopa (Sprengel) Backeberg
Published in: Backeb. & F. M. Knuth, Kaktus-ABC, 256, 1935
Notocactus scopa (Spreng.) A.Berger
Published in:  A.Berger -- Kakteen, 208, 343 1929

Basionym: Cactus scopa Sprengel
Published in: Systema Vegetabilium, 2:494, Göttingen 1825

Distribution: Southern Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul), Uruguay, Paraguay, northern Argentina.

Habitat: Native to the grasslands

Conservation status: Listed in CITES Appendix II

The Notocactus scopa aggregate is an ensemble of related species comprising N. scopa, N. schlosseri, N. scopa var. xicoi, N. sucineus

NOTE: This plant  has been Transferred to Parodia in 1997 by David Hunt.

Etymology: The genus name "Notocactus" derives from the Greek words “notos” meaning “south” indicating that the plants of this genus are from of the South (America) and the word “cactus” ( an old genus name)
(The genus name implies:
cactus of the south”).
species name "scopa" derives from the Latin word “scopa ( pl. scopæ ) ” meaning “a broom”, referring to the long and dense spination.  
(The specific name implies:
broom like”)

Common English Names include: Silver Ball Cactus, Silver ball.


  • Parodia scopa (Sprengel) N.P. Taylor 1987
  • Cereus scopa Salm-Dick
    In De Candolle, Prodr. 3464. 1828
  • Echinocactus scopa Link and Otto
    In: Icon Pl. Rar. 81. 1830
  • Echinocactus scopa candidus Pfeiffer
    In: Enum. Cact. 64. 1837
  • Echinopsis scopa Carriére
    In: Rev. Hort. 47:374. 1875
  • Echinocactus scopa albicans Arechavaleta
    In: Anal. Mus. Nac. Montevideo 5:199 1905
  • Malacocarpus scopa (Sprengel) Britton & Rose 1922
  • Notocactus scopa (Sprengel) A. Berger 1929
  • Notocactus scopa (Link & Otto) A.Berger
    Published in: Kakteen (Berger) 343. 1929
  • Notocactus soldtianus
  • Peronocactus scopa



Red central spines and shorter white around.

Yellow bloom with contrasting red pistil.

It is easy to grow.  It  prefers a neutral to slightly acidic mineral-based potting mix with a good drainage. It likes a warm bright location, does great in partial shade but doesn't like full, hot blazing sun in the central summer month. Can support quite some water during the growing season but pot plants in winter are wet-sensitive and needs to be kept dry  (rots easily if soil is wet and cold) tends to lose its roots in winter. Usually it is recommended to over-winter this plant in a bright and warm greenhouse with at least 8-10° C , but it has proved to tolerate temperatures as low as -5° C for short periods.  

Propagation: Seeds, cuttings  or root suckers (if available). Not too difficult to raise from seed.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the Notocactus scopa complex:

Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.