Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Barrel Cactus: Southwestern Oddity

With all the snow we've all been dazzled with, thought maybe readers would like a change of scene. So off we go to Arizona to view  some shots taken this past November.

This post has been "on hold" so this might be an appropriate time to run it. Everyone seems to be a little sick of s-n-o-w.   What could be better, as the snow swirls in mad profusion outside, than to feast one's eyes on a barrel cactus under the sizzling Arizona sun?

My mind sometimes works differently from other peoples' brains.

While traveling in the southwest, some visitors may view a barrel cactus as quite unique or even picturesque.  When I see one, such as the one shown in the photo above, this is the thought that flashes in my mind:

      "I would not want to sit on that cactus."

The meaning behind  a barrel cactus, (ferocactus), is "fierce."  Just looking at one makes that quite understandable. It has pain-producing spines and some species sport  fish-hooks. How would you like to get one of those in your arm? Yikes.

It's been noted that barrel cacti are the last in the desert to bloom. When they do bloom, the flowers grow at the plant's top and are orange.

  One report noted that Native Americans boiled young flowers in water and ate them like cabbage.  It does not, however, sound appealing to me. More mature flowers are said to have been boiled and mashed to make a drink by Native Americans.

The sharp-looking spines have been used as needles, awls, and tattooing, according to some reports.

Almost any tourist has seen cactus candy for sale in southwestern gift shops. It's made from the pulp of the barrel cactus. 
Still, when I see a barrel cactus, the thought of sitting on it makes me keep my distance or run in the other direction.



Susan said...

Welcome to Once Upon a Rose, this blog's 162nd Follower. Your blog is so welcoming and a most delightful place to visit!

Hello everybody! Hope you enjoy today's post about a cactus from warm and sunny Arizona! ha! Fooled you, eh? Maybe you thought I'd post on the snowstorm?

Hope you all have a GREAT day! Hugs. Susan

middle child said...

You do know tht Native Americans were stoners, right?

diane stetson said...

Snow and Arizona have been in the news this week Susan...I have a cactus garden on my side yard and yes I have a barrel cactus in it.

Anonymous said...

We are in the middle of a snow storm right now...but all is well I'm cozy and warm!

Thanks for your sweet comment today! You made me smile!

Ciao Bella!
Creative Carmelina

Linda O'Connell said...

Wish I were in a warm desert climate right now.

Chatty Crone said...

I've never seen one ever - and I wouldn't like to sit on it either. Good to see something 'warm' though. Lol sandie

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Have never seen one and I really wouldn't want to sit on one either. They are unique though. The snow is still blowing like crazy here. Will get out soon with the dog.

T's Daily Treasures said...

Hope you are tucked away inside safe and warm from the storm. I hear it is a doozy in some places. I have never seen a cactus so big and round. I'd stay clear too. Warm wishes, Tammy

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