Consider, if you will, the cactus.

To some detractors, a cactus seems more appropriate in a Western starring John Wayne than on a sunny windowsill. As they see it, the spiny succulent is about as lovable as Howard Cosell.

Despite those opinions, the barbed desert plant has a devoted band of supporters--the Long Beach Cactus Club. To them, a cactus is a whole lot prettier than a pine tree and has charm a rose could never muster.

"Some people who grow orchids look down their noses at cactus collectors, but they shouldn't," said Edward (Ted) Taylor, 78, president of the club. "Orchids are pretty, but we don't think they're nearly as nice as a well-tended cactus."

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