I bought a cactus and named him Mendel!

in blog •  7 months ago

Everyone, meet Mendel!

This is Mendel. He’s a cactus of the genus Echinocactus. I still couldn’t identify his species but the good gardener who sold me Mendel said he’s local name is cottonhead. But I don’t quite think that’s it. That’s because he’s a pea brain most of the time (pun intended).

I brought Mendel home three afternoons ago after I flunked yet again another quiz in Advanced Genetics. I swear this MS thing has got my brain going nuts. lol There was an org fair going on near our college where I decided to stop by and went to look around. There was a stall who sold lots of cacti and succulents where I found Mendel sitting there in all his spiky sun-basking glory. I decided to take him home.

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His Namesake

Mendel was named after (Sir) Johann Gregor Mendel, Father of Modern Genetics and renowned Botanist. He was a pioneer in the field of heredity, establishing the foundational principles of inhereitance through his experiments on the common pea plant (my reference for the above pun, actually). Mendel was actually a monk who conducted his experiments in the monastery garden. Eight years after, he was able to unlock the gateway passage to an even wider realm of genetics, which evolved into its modern and now more widely used definition – the study of heredity and variation.

Mendel's Personality

Mendel is very much like his namesake. He knows a lot but he doesn’t talk which gets me so frustrated. The same way I get with my course and his namesake. But he’s quite a listener. He just lets me ramble about tangled science stuff in my head and doesn’t complain. If he does talk though, I bet my grades In all of my subjects that he’d throw me shade and spiky comments on my poor analyses and stupid musings. And that makes him an asshole. But I love him anyway.

Taking Care of Mendel

Mendel is a cheapass of a plant. He’s very low maintenance, only needs minimal sunlight and only bathes once a week. Eww, Mendel! Kidding. He hasn’t bathed since I took him home. I decided to water him every Wednesday starting next week. He also doesn’t want to get moved around so much so he just stays in his wooden pot.

Right now I am looking at other cacti to get Mendel a companion. I’m thinking of naming it Franklin, from Rosalind Franklin, another one of my favorite scientists in Genetics. You’ll know more about her when I get another cactus. 🌵


"It requires indeed some courage to undertake a labor of such far-reaching extent,"
Mendel would write later.
But courage is the wrong word here.
More than 'courage', something else is evident in that work -
a quality that one can onky describe as 'tenderness'.
(The Gene, Siddharta Mukherjee)

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Hahaha I got lucky with Mendel, too! We all did! ❤