Crested plants are those that exhibit abnormal, distorted or disfigured growth. This happens when a mutation occurs during cell division. The crested forms generally occurs in the wild because of injuries to the plant at a young age. This damage can result from insects munching on the growing tip, or from other causes, including disease and genetic predisposition. In reaction to this injury, the cells at the tip of the branch where growth occurs begin to multiply at a much faster rate and the normal growing tip “goes crazy,” creating, in the case of crested plants, those fantastical fans and whorls.
Due to rarity of the crested form almost all crested plants that are offered for sale in nurseries and garden centers are artificially propagated. Over time there have been a fair number of these cacti found so there is lots of choice. These are a definite for any collection.