Friday, March 12, 2010

Fishhook Cactus

The fishhook cactus is found in the Sonoran Desert of southeastern California, Arizona, New Mexico and northern Mexico. I have seen them in California and in southern Arizona, in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where the one below was photographed.
It is cylindrical, like a sea cucumber, and very small, about six inches high.
It has many fishhooked spines, about 1/2 inch long,
surrounded by numerous straight tan to pink spines.
It blooms from April to May (which I've never seen) and has a red fruit (I've never seen). It is also known as the pincushion cactus. It is not as common as other kinds of cactus and also more difficult to find because of its small size. It seems that the ones I've seen have all been on the slopes of hills, rather than on the flat desert floor.

Updated: March 22, 2010

Judy and I just returned from a trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. While hiking in Estes Canyon we found the following fishhook cactus. These were the only fishhook cactus we saw in a full day of hiking in Estes Canyon and Alamo Canyon.
A closer view of the smaller cacti.
On May 5, 2012 I was hiking in the vicinity of Hayfield Road off the I-10 freeway, in the Sonoran Desert just south of Joshua Tree National Park. I found my first blooming fishhook cactus. 
I think they must open up as the day progresses, so one day I need to go and stay later in the day. 
As it was, I got a pretty good look into the beautiful pink flower. 

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