Cacti and Succulent
Our Cacti and Succulent Collection can be found throughout the Gardens, but most particularly in the Tecoma Gate Lawn, Guilfoyle's Volcano and the Arid Garden. These fantastic plants demonstrate the adaptive traits that plants have evolved to survive and indeed thrive in water scarcity, as demonstrated during the Millennium Drought and with Melbourne's ongoing climate change.
This Collection is important as it:
- Demonstrates the evolutionary adaptations of low-water plants.
- Preserves the character and history of Melbourne Gardens.
- Displays the ornamental diversity of this plant group.
Mexican Lime Cactus
Golden Barrel Cactus
Old Man of the Mountain
A dense succulent shrub forming multi-stemmed cushion-shaped clumps up to 2m wide and 60cm tall. As with all Euphorbias it exudes a thick milky, latex-like sap when damaged. Euphorbia resinifera is toxic and touching its sap can cause your skin to burn, swell, and blister.
Notes from the Curator
My first encounter with the Arid Garden was back in 1995. I was studying visual arts at Ballarat University and had visited the Botanic Gardens while on a field trip to the National Gallery. I can clearly remember walking into the Arid garden and being blown away by these incredibly strange, almost alien plants. Obviously visual arts did not work out and I have now been curating the Arid collection for close to 20 years. I love the unique adaptions these plants have developed in order to survive in such harsh conditions.
The recent redevelopment of the Arid Garden has certainly been a career highlight with many new, mature, wild collected cacti species being introduced. My favourite time to visit the Arid garden is early morning. Many of the night flowering cacti are still in full bloom and the sun shining through the different coloured cacti spines create an incredible halo effect. The fact that I still get that feeling I felt in 1995 when I walk into the Arid Garden is testament to the uniqueness of this collection.