Myrtillocactus «Max» - a charming son of the desert
What adventurers love, Myrtillocactus «Max» also likes. In fact, its natural habitat extends from Guatemala to Mexico and includes Lower California. Myrtillocactus was first described in 1897 by the Sicilian botanist Michelangelo Console, who was fascinated by the blue-green color of this cactus species. If you create ideal conditions for this buddy and it has grown a bit, it will produce green-white flowers and then blue berries, also called garambullos. In their area of origin, Myrtillocactus help against soil erosion and provide food for wild animals.
Myrtillocactus «Max» - also ideal for berry fans
Do you like berries? Then you should try the sweet berries from Myrtillocactus «Max». They are similar in size and appearance to blueberries, have many vitamins and are basically valuable food. The Aztecs, who bred these cacti, already knew their health benefits. In Mexico they are still harvested as wild fruits and offered at local markets. They are used fresh or dried like raisins: for ice cream and sorbets, for compotes, jams, cake toppings or for the production of flavored water or sweet wine. In rural areas they are also eaten as vegetables: breaded and fried or chopped and mixed with scrambled eggs.
Does «Max» remind you of myrtle, blue candles, bilberries or blueberries?
«Max» has many names. His botanical name is «Myrtillocactus». But it is also commonly known as Bilberry or Blueberry Cactus. Well, it doesn't really matter. The only remarkable thing is that the various names are always based on the fruits of the cactus, which - depending on the eyes of the observer - look like the berries of the myrtle or remind of bilberries or blueberries. As it reaches maturity, the cactus grows branches that resemble a candelabrum, hence its nickname «Blue Candle». Too complicated for you? Then simply call this friendly green roommate «Max». He likes that.
Myrtillocactus? Symbol of resistance, strength, availability and love
Since the Myrtillocactus survives even in the most barren areas, it stands for endurance and tenacity. So, whoever gives you a Myrtillocactus as a gift, thinks you are a fighter. Or he wants to encourage you in difficult times. But Myrtillocactus is more than that. Because it can be used for many things, it also stands for warmth, availability and unconditional love among Native Americans. In this sense, if someone gives you «Max», it could also mean that he cares about you. Last but not least there is the Japanese «Hanakotoba», according to which every plant has a meaning. There the cactus is associated with passion. So, if someone gives you a Myrtillocactus, it could also be a message of love. The choice is yours.
Myrtillocactus «Max»? Really always there for you
«Our» Max is a great guy. Because he not only helps against soil erosion and has delicious fruits. He’s good for many other things. For example, the fast-growing cactus is sometimes used as a natural fence or as a «silo» for dried corn, because its thorns keep goats, cows and other invaders away. When dried, Myrtillocactus is used as firewood in rural areas and is also fed to livestock. The hollow cactus trunks are also suitable for making electric lamps or flashlights. Last but not least, dried berries are also processed to obtain vegetable dye.
Myrtillocactus «Max» likes it sunny and warm
So that its wonderful blue color does not fade, «Max» feels most comfortable in a location with at least four hours of sunshine a day. During the warm season he also likes to stand in the garden or on the balcony. But be careful: When moving from the apartment to the outside, he must first slowly get used to the direct sun. Also, on hot days he needs a little extra water. But be careful: always let the soil dry out completely between watering. In the colder season, however, it really only needs very little water. In addition, «Max» survives the winter better if he has a very bright, but somewhat cooler location in the apartment.