Sunday, February 21, 2010

Barrel Cactus

There are a number of different types of barrel cactus in the southwestern deserts, but I don't have the resources to properly categorize them. Those below were found near Eagle Mountain.
The next one, much smaller, was found near Corn Springs in the Chuckwalla Mountains.
The next one, part of a cluster, is very small and almost overwhelmed by the spines. It was found on the Chuckwalla Bench.
The barrel, below, was also found on the Chuckwalla Bench. It had been partially eaten by bighorn sheep. Bighorn sheep droppings were all around it. It gave me added respect for the hardiness of the bighorn. The barrel cacti are solid and I have a hard time envisioning any animal chewing on them without seriously hurting their mouths.
I believe the barrel below is a fishhook barrel cactus. It was located in the San Felipe Hills. Its spines are hooked like a fish hook.
It flowers on top. These flowers are mostly in the bud stage.
The bud on this flower has begun to open up.
This bud has opened even further, further exposing the inner petals.
Opened up, the petals look like the nose of a mole.
Once the flower has withered, a pineapple shaped fruit remains.
A closer view of the fruit.
We visited Mexico in the Spring of 2010 and found this barrel cactus with beautiful red flowers. A side view 
and a top view.

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