Shortly after we moved to the village, the good lady wife of our local pub landlord popped round to the cottage with a housewarming gift. She said, “I saw this and thought of you” and handed over a pot plant. It was an echninopsis lageniformis f. monstruosa, more commonly known as a penis cactus. And you can see why.
I did extensive research – ok, I googled it – and in Italy the plant is known as cazzone – that’s dick to you and me – so that’s what we called it. I also discovered that Germans call the prickly plant frauenglück or happy woman. Ouch! Oh, and a word to the wise. There is some evidence that Dick contains mescaline, a psychedelic drug. So no licking Dick.
I wasn’t quite sure how to look after a desert plant in a centrally heated house on an island with a temperate climate but I did my best, placing Dick next to a south-facing window, and dribbled a little water into the soil once a week. I didn’t hold out much hope but, to my great surprise, Dick lived. Then, just recently, I noticed that Dick was sprouting a brand new appendage. As it’s a bit on the small side, we’ve called it Little Dickie. We’re hoping it’s a grower. Either way, the publican’s missus is a happy woman.