This extensive collection of columnar cacti was donated to Lotusland in 1999 by Merritt Dunlap, a longtime friend of Madame Walska. Dunlap began his collection in 1929 and grew approximately 40 percent of the plants from seed.
The garden area was designed by Eric Nagelmann on three-quarters of an acre and contains about 300 different species of cacti, grouped by their country of origin. Paths snake between raised beds, converging on an elevated viewing terrace near the center of the garden.
Three hundred tons of diorite boulders were used to create the beds, and stunning formations of basalt create more drama at the lawn entrance and throughout the garden, which opened in 2004.
Notable specimens include species of Opuntia endemic to the Galapagos Islands; several blue, sculptural species of Armatocereus from Peru; and a complete collection of the genus Weberbauerocereus. Accent plants, including boojum trees (Fouquieria columnaris), dry-growing bromeliads, and several Agave species provide contrast and interest.