The parodias are mainly small, globe shaped or elongated desert-type cacti, with colorful or intricately decorative spines bearing crowns of brightly colored flowers. P. chrysacanthion from Argentina is covered in spirally arranged tubercles, each topped with an areole bearing 30—40 straight, pale-yellow spines, ½ in. (1 cm) long, and 3—5 golden-yellow spines, up to 1 in. (2.5 cm) long.
The very apex of the plant is wooly and tufted with erect spines. The yellow flowers appear in spring and are up to 1 in. (2.5 cm) across. P. nivosa is a globe- shaped desert cactus from Brazil, grown for its attractive spines and its display of bright red flowers. It has many low ribs, set with areoles bearing hair like spines.
The apex of the plant has a white, wooly crown and bears funnel-shaped flowers, 2 in. (5 cm) long arid across, which appear around this indentation, each lasting for several days. P. crassigibba (formerly Notocactus crassigibbus) is a flattened dome-shaped plant of up to 7 in. (17 cm) in diameter.
It is shiny dark green, with 10-16 low, rounded ribs dotted with chin like tubercles. The 1 in. (2.5 cm) long spines are off- white to gray or light brown in color. White, yellow, or red-purple flowers are produced in spring and summer.
Size: Height to 6 in. (15 cm), spread 4 in. (10 cm).
Light: Direct sunlight.
Temperature: Normal room; winter minimum 50°F (10°C).
Moisture: Keep the soil moist (but never wet) from spring to fall. In winter, apply only enough water to prevent the soil drying out.
Feeding: Give liquid tomato fertilizer once a month in spring and summer.
Propagation: Remove offsets during summer. Allow to dry for up to three days, then pot into cactus soil mix. If no offsets form, raise from seed.
Special needs: Give the plant as much direct sun as possible all year to help it to keep a good shape and encourage flowering. If the roots show signs of rotting when the plant is being repotted, cut damaged tissue back to healthy growth, then repot.