Parodia lenninghausii/Parodia leninghausii-Golden Ball, Lemon Ball, Yellow Tower

Parodia lenninghausii-Golden Ball Cactus on 7-19-16, #274-53.

Golden Ball, Lemon Ball, Yellow Tower

Parodia lenninghausii


Parodia leninghausii

par-ROH-dee-uh  len-ing-HOW-see-eye

Let me see… I’m not sure where to begin the description of the scientific name because this one’s history is a doozy! I spent HOURS doing name research, every synonym, to try and figure out how every database spells the name with one “N” except Plants of the World Online… They spell it with 2. Eight out of 11 synonyms I found associated with this plant are spelled with two “N’s” because they all have the same basionym. But when you click on the name and use the link to IPNI, the name it lists has only one “n”. I also found out something else very interesting about the authors of the synonyms. The abbreviation Haage and F.Haage are both used and at first I thought The Plant List editors misspelled it. Then I found out they were different men. Actually, there may be three Haage’s involved.


Parodia leninghausii/ P. lenninghausii on 5-31-17, #339-35.

I bought several cacti from Wal-Mart on 2-1-16 a few days after I first noticed they had a shipment come in. The plants were still in the plastic sleeves they had come in and were soaking in water. When I went back a few days later to buy, they were STILL in the plastic sleeves and STILL soaking. I bought several cacti, as I said, but accidentally bought two of two different species, including these two Parodia leninghausii. Actually, the label says Notocactus leninghausii which has been a synonym of Parodia leninghausii since 1982. The label says:

Notocactus leninghausii, native to Brazil and Paraguay, can grow to 2’ in height, forming clusters of semi-columnar stems covered with dense, harmless golden spines. Large lemon yellow flowers in summer. Protect from frost. Provide bright light. Hardy to 20 degrees F. To 3’ tall. Water thoroughly when soil is dry.”

The plants were in 4 oz. (2 1/2” diameter) pots and looked pretty good considering they were in a cold, wet environment. The smallest one measured 1 7/8” tall x 1 3/4” wide without the fuzz. Somehow I must have forgotten to measure the larger one. I usually take measurements of my cactus and succulents when I buy them then every 6-12 months.


Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii, the taller one, on 8-29-17, #369-70.

If I take you step by step through the whole process of the name and author research for this plant, it would be very confusing. Not only for you but for me all over again. So, I will just give you the short form. This will be confusing enough for me to explain. In the end, I found a link to the Biodiversity Heritage Library, through IPNI (International Plant Names Index) from Plants of the World Online… I should have clicked on that in the beginning.

I first began my research about this plant with the 2013 version of The Plant List. Yeah, I know it is unmaintained now, but at the time I didn’t know it. The Plant List says the accepted name is Parodia leninghausii (Haage) F.H.Brandt. I clicked on the name which took me to the page about the species which lists eleven synonyms. I clicked on the publication details link to IPNI (International Plant Names Index) and the name there is Parodia leninghausii (F.Haage) F.H.Brandt. It was named and described by Fred Hermann Brandt in Kakteen und Orchideen Rundschau in 1982. Right off the bat, there is an issue but I ignored it, thinking possibly the editors of The Plant List misspelled the basionym authors name. The IPNI details say the basionym was cited as Pilosocereus leninghausii F.Haage then down below it says Haage. GEEZ! Anyway, I went ahead and clicked on the link to Tropicos to see what it had to say. HOLY CRAP! Tropicos says the accepted name is Parodia leninghausii (K.Schum.) F.H.Brandt! Their assumption is based on the SAME description by Fred Hermann Brandt in 1982. However, they are using the basionym Echinocactus leninghausii K.Schum as named and described by Karl Moritz Schumann in Monatsschrift für Kakteenkunde in 1895. This is actually completely incorrect if you do the research. K. Schumann’s first mention of this name gives credit to F. Haage for naming this plant and MISSPELLS the name… F. Haage named the plant after a supplier of this plant, Fred Guillermo Lenninghaus, and named it Piloceraus lenninghausii… Then, in 1895, Schumann says he believes the genus of this cactus is actually Echinocactus which is how he is credited with naming Echinocactus leninghausii… Well, Mr. Haage named 18 different Piloceraus species. Doesn’t matter now, because both genera are synonyms of the Parodia genus so they were always the same in the first place.

It was pretty confusing about the author’s ID. Haage, changing to F. Haage. Those ID’s belong to two different men…  They are related, but not father and son, or even grandson. The Haage family has been in the horticulture field since the 17th century. I will do further research and make it clear to myself before I write the history of the Haage family. I need to work on getting the blog updated, then I will return to the Haage Family.

But, for now, I will say, from what I have read, Friedrich Ferdinand Adolph Haage (F.Haage) is credited with naming *Pilocereus lenninghausii (F.Haage) even though the name first appeared in a catalog printed by Friedrich Adolph Martin Haage (Haage) for his business, called Friedrich Adolph Haage, Jr. (or jun.) in 1886. Actually, F. Haage could have named it and that’s why it was listed as such in the catalog. Like I said, they were related and all involved in the business… I do know that Friedrich Adolph Martin Haage (Haage) was NOT the father of Friedrich Ferdinand Adolph Haage (F.Haage). However, Friedrich Ferdinand (Ferdinand Friedrich) Adolph Haage is the father of Walter Haage. Some of the links to the Haage’s are in German so I had to use the Google translator to read.

The other thing that may be confusing is the name for F.Haage. His name is spelled Ferdinand Friedrich Haage and Friedrich Ferdinand Adolph Haage…

*There are two links on the Wikipedia for this species. The one through the name Pilocereus lenninghausii on F.Haage’s article takes you to a page (in German) where it says this plant was named after Guillermo Lenninghaus. The plant is on the list of plants named by F. Haage.  The Wikipedia Parodia leninghausii article says the plant was named by Carl Moritz Shuman after Wilhelm Lenninghauss who changed his name from Guillermo Lenninghaus after he moved to Brazil. It further states he collected cacti for the German grower Haage… Hmmm…


Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii, the taller one, on 10-11-17, #382-52.

Then as I started to write this page, I went to Plants of the World Online to see what they had to say. I typed in Parodia leninghausii and it said “no results”. I thought that was strange, so I typed in Parodia. Their website lists 62 accepted species INCLUDING Parodia lenninghausii (F.Haage) F.H.Brandt ex Eggli & Hofacker. NOW WAIT A MINUTE!!! What’s the deal here? They spelled lenninghausii with two “N’s” instead of one and added the ex authors The Plant List and Tropicos (or any other database) doesn’t have. Then I thought, “That’s weird.” I went back to The Plant List for a minute to look at the list of synonyms and eight out of the eleven had TWO “N’s”. Then I started talking to myself… Every one I clicked on led to a description on IPNI with the name having only ONE “N”!


Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii, the taller one at 4 3/4″ tall x 3 1/2″ wide on 10-17-17, #384-21.

When I moved the plants inside for the winter, I measured all the cactus and succulents. I always do this because it shows me how fast they are growing. Some cacti grow so slow.

Back on Plants of the World Online on their Parodia lenninghausii page, I clicked on “Other Data” which always leads to the IPNI Plant Details, the same as I did with the Plant List… HA! It uses a different version of IPNI than The Plant List did. The link through The Plant List used Version 1.4 and the one through POWO uses version 1.2 with different ID numbers. There it is, all bright and shiny, the name Parodia lenninghausii (F.Haage) F.H.Brandt ex Eggli & Hofacker. Named and described by Urs Eggli and Andreas Hofacker in Novon in 2010. BUT, this version of IPNI says the basionym is Pilocereus lenninghausii F.Haage.


Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii, the smaller one at 3 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide on 10-17-17, #384-22.

The shorter one has a bit of a “hunch”. It measured 3 3/4″ tall x 2 3/4″ wide when I brought it inside. I moved the cactus and succulents upstairs to their location for the winter.

You have to realize something about the IPNI. They are a name database and have nothing to do with saying which names are accepted or not. No matter what name you type in, if it exists, it is there, with details about the authors and where their descriptions were published. Many have a lot of references.


Top view of the Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii on 10-17-17, #384-23.

Now, while on the IPNI link, there is a link that says to “read the protologue in BHL (Biodiversity Heritage Library).” This link provides the “COMPLETENovon-A Journal for Botanical Nomenclature, Volume 20, Number 1 on 2010. It is published by the Missouri Botanical Garden. The link takes you directly fo Eggli & Hofacker’s description titled “Validation of the Name Parodia lenninghausii…”. It is their opinion of why the name Parodia leninghausii should be changed to Parodia lenninghausii. It is very hard to understand and I read it several times… Apparently, and it seems honestly correct, the original basionym name using the spelling “leninghausii” was not validly published or challenged. The last paragraph says, “It could be argued that the spelling “leninghausii,” being established by current use, and not having been recently questioned, should be retained for the sake of nomenclatural stability. Since the change only effects the fourth letter of the epithet, the possible confusion associated with the change from current use to the original spelling is not insurmountable. If the continued usage of the customary, but erroneous, spelling is deemed more appropriate, a formal proposal to conserve (McNeill et. al., 2006: Art. 14:11) will be needed.

One of the most confusing parts about the article was the use of the names Haage, F. Haage, and Haage jr. without explaining their relationship.


Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii, the shorter one, on 1-18-18, #401-11.

Anyway, based on the information by Eggli and Hofacker, Plants of the World Online has decided to use Parodia lenninghausii (F.Haage) F.H.Brandt ex Eggli & Hofacker as the correct and accepted scientific name on their website. I knew they had a good reason for using a different name than pretty much every other website.


Parodia leninghausii/P. lenninghausii, the taller one, on 1-18-18, #401-12.

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Mexico
Zones: USDA Zones 9b-11b (25 to 40° F)
Size: Up to 24”
Light: Sun to part shade
Soil: Fast-draining. Potting soil amended with extra grit and perlite or pumice
Water: Average during the growing period. Barely, if any, during winter.


Parodia lenninghausii the Greater on 5-17-17, #443-71.

I have named them “Greater” and “Lesser” because one is a little taller than the other. They sometimes try to confuse me and tell me one had a growth spurt and one shrunk… So, when I call them by name they point to each other. Then their neighbors all start laughing so I know what is going on.


Parodia lenninghausii the Lesser on 5-18-18, #444-21.

Parodia lenninghausii can be pranksters because they were brought up not really knowing the correct spelling of their name or even which HAAGE actually named them. They seem to like making others laugh, even with their strange hairdo.


Parodia lenninghausii (Golden Ball Cactus), 7-29-18, #487-75.

Not only that, they will eventually have yellow flowers but tell me I have to wait for several years… I remind them at their rate of growth they will still be short. I asked them how old they were already, and they told me it was a secret. GEEZ!!! Then, of course, the other cactus kid them about me accidentally buying two of them.


Parodia lenninghausii the Greater at 5 1/2″ tall x 1 15/16″ wide on 10-10-18, #519-58.

I had to move the potted plants inside for the winter on October 10 because the forecast was calling for an “F” in a few days and the nighttime temperatures were getting cooler. I usually measure the cactus and succulents when I bring them inside but somehow I only measured Greater. It measured 5 1/2″ tall x 1 15/16″ wide.


The pair of Parodia lenninghausii on 11-29-18, #534-31. Lessor on the right and Greater on the left.

November 29 was a nice spring-like day, so I took the cactus to the back porch for a photo shoot. I was working on a post to show the difference between the cactus in my collection.


Parodia lenninghausii hairdo on 11-29-18, #534-32.

I always like their hairdo. It reminds me of Alfalfa’s hair on the old TV show called The Little Rascals (Our Gang).


Parodia lenninghausii close-up on 12-1-18, #535-23.

Parodia lenninghausii has around 30 ribs. The areoles have both very short and thin radial spines and at least one very long central spine. The longer spines are more or less 1″ in length. The spines are not sharp at all so you can pet these guys if you want. Llifle didn’t give a spine count and I lost track trying.

This cactus will produce AWESOME yellow flowers after it is five years or so old. One time I asked them how old they were and they said, “SECRET”…

Somehow I only measured Greater on October 10 so I went to do it again… They kept jiggling around and laughing! Maybe they are ticklish! GEEZ! Anyway, Lessor measured 4 5/8″ tall x 2″ in diameter and Greater measured 4 7/8″ tall x 1 7/8” in diameter (not including their spines). Then Lessor said, “Ummm… you forgot something.” I asked what? He said, “We have angled crowns so you have to make sure you measure from the tallest side.” I said, “Oh, yeah…” So I measured them again. HOLY CRAP! They are both 4 7/8″ tall now! Maybe the Lessor was standing on his toes… Then Greater said, “He was cheating when you measured his diameter.” I said, “How could he cheat about that?” Greater said, “He was pushing out his stomach.” I said, “Then maybe you were cheating on October 10 because you were 5 1/2″ tall then. Now you are 4 7/8″ tall.” He just smiled… GEEZ! OK, so they are both around 5″ tall x around 2″ diameter. Visually, one still looks smaller than the other. Greater’s pot is slightly larger and the soil is slightly higher than Lessors… Nuff said…

I will continue adding more photos of these two cacti and more information as time goes by. The links below provide further information. You can also check my page, Cactus and Succulent Tips.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. If you find any errors in the information, please let me know. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.

It is strange how you can read lots information and believe it is true until you read something that proves everything you have been taught is wrong…

Llifle (Encyclopedia Of Living Forms)
Dave’s Garden

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