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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cylindropuntia ganderi

Cylindropuntia ganderi is a common plant in Anza Borego California state park, and also found down South in adjacent Baja California. It forms low spiny bushes, usually not too dense so you can safely walk around them. The more close encounter may turn unpleasant.
All that hostility does not stop Cylindropuntias from producing pretty flowers, large and gentle.
There is always some excitement going on in the microcosm of cactus flower. Cactus deserts are harsh for all the leaving things, and cactus flowers are providing of food and drink for the small creatures who's well been is dependent on them. This little beetle is feasting on Cylindropuntia pollen, and in return providing the service of transporting same pollen from plant to plant and ensuring the future cactus seed production.
Most of Cylindropuntias are not for the sane collectors (if you assume for a minute that such thing as a sane cactus collector may exist), mainly due to the large plant size, but also as a remarkably hard to handle plants. Even if cactus aficionado likely will declare the spines beautiful, they are also extremely painful if they come in contact with bare skin. The microscopic stricture of barbed wire or better harpoon-like splinters makes this spines very painful to get in, and even more painful to get out.
The picture below is perfectly safe though.

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