Monday, June 26, 2017

Organ Pipe Cactus Flowers and Fruit

In mid-June in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument I happened upon a ripe organ pipe fruit. It had burst open and revealed a dark red inside with lots of dark seeds. 
Organ pipe fruit that has busted open and revealed its red inside. Note the brown stems that were once flowers and the round bulbous fruit has developed at the base. 
A side view of the same fruit. 
A close-up of the same fruit. 
Because it was infested with bugs I did not taste it and I was unable to find any other ripe organ pipe fruit, although I made several attempts to do so. 
Here is a fruit cut from a cactus. Note all of the spines on it. 
It obviously is not ripe.
Here is another bulb, this one much further along, with the black seeds starting to develop. 
I asked a ranger if it was possible to tell when an organ pipe's fruit was ripe and she said no. However, a site that sells organ pipe fruit indicates that when ripe the fruit is round and about the size of a tennis ball. Some of the spines fall off and they start to turn a rosy hue and get splotches of pale yellow. It is described as having a sweet-tart flavor. 

I still found a lot of the organ pipes flowering. The flowers only open at night. The flower eventually dies and the bulb at the base of the flower grows and grows and turns into a fruit. 
A flowering organ pipe. Note the bulb at the lower right beginning to form. 

Multiple fruit beginning to grow. 


  1. That first picture looks like a Hollywood monster.

  2. I thought the first picture looked like a baby bear cub, but the second one looks like a creature from Where the Wild Things Are. The plants themselves look like alien plants from outer space.