Monday, September 6, 2010

The Barrel cactus

The barrel cactus is the last cactus to bloom, lagging weeks behind the Saguaro, the cholla and the prickly pear. The key to a nice crown of flowers is to remove the yellow fruits from previous years. Birds and wild animals are apparently better at this that we human gardeners.
I see the best barrel crowns in the desert. The fullest of the following crowns were photographed in the Saguaro National Monument east.

Barrel Cactus are often called the "compass of the desert". They turn and twist toward the south. It is said that this is to avoid sunburn.
Barrels often have small young cactus growing around them. These are called "pups".

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