Friday, March 7, 2008

Fishhook Barrel Cactus 101

When you live in the desert, you meet the most interesting neighbors. (Clicking on the pictures will give you an up-close-and-personal view.)

Here is an example of a typical Fishhook Barrel Cactus Family during a picnic. Mom is gently pushing the two children into the picture, Dad is in the background thinking he might be able to hide behind the tree, and big brother is glaring at little baby button in the right hand corner (it's squalling because mama wouldn't hold it). The shrub in the middle is a neighbor who always shows up in the pictures. Nobody's quite sure who it is.

Here is a young, plump, happy cactus, wearing last year's yellow fruit hat. There'll be bright yellow/orange flowers in the summer. He's about a foot tall.

Here is an older one, taller, sporting more hat and beginning the characteristic lean to the south. That IS a fact...the barrel cactus generally leans to the south as it grows, unlike the Saguaro which grow straight and tall.

And, like most families, there are some that aren't content with their lot in life and try their best to look like another species...this one has EXPLODED into life..trying to grow the characteristic arms of the saguaro. Unfortunately it has ended up looking like a chubby pre-stuck pincushion.

And those that know they have a prickly exterior, but want to be friends, anyway. No hugs, please. This one is pretending to be a chubby saguaro (no leaning). My daughter is almost 4 feet tall.

The desert is not for the faint-hearted, but neither is life! By the way, the name "fishhook" is very apt because the spines do not stick straight out (as a saguaro), but make a decided curve on the the sharp point. They DO resemble a fish hook. And, contrary to some belief, these cactus are NOT full of water or juice like a coconut would be. So don't go thinking you can stab one and water will flow out and save you from thirst. Bring your own water when walking through the desert.

Oh, and these guy are real downers at Birthday Parties. All they want to do is pop all the balloons. And they are VERY good at it!!


PEA said...

What a cute little cactus family! lol The only cactus we see around here are the little ones they sell in the stores! It must be awesome to see them grow in so many different shapes and sizes. See, I've learned something...I thought they were succulent plants and so had a lot of moisture inside of them! Hope all is well with you:-) xox

Mississippi Songbird said...

Thank you for visiting my blog.. So nice to meet you..I want to add you to my blogroll, so I can keep in touch.You have a nice blog too..
I'm about the same as far as te cactus.Only in the stores, and that's not very often..
I have a lucky bamboo
Have a wonderful weekend!

I go to New Albany a lot to shop and that's where I take the kids to the movies. They have the $4.50 movies in the afternoon on the weekends.. That's my kind of

Sandra said...

Hi Elizabeth :)

Thank you for stopping by my blog, I can't believe your in Tucson that's not too far from us.

Yes Arizona is very different and it's hard to get acclimated to but I'm trying my best to see the good in it and to make the best of the time we're stationed here :)

I'm adding you to my bloglines if that's ok.

Have a wonderful day :)


Mima said...

LOL at your cactus family posing for a picture, especially the neighbour who nobody knows! I really long for such warm weather, we are just coming out of winter, and if we are lucky we will get a warm streak in the summer with some hot days!

Mary said...

Hi Elizabeth,
Love your cactus family! I've never been to the desert, so I've really enjoyed your photos. I'd love to see all sorts of cactus in the wild some day. :)

bj said...

Cactus are pretty in a "stay your distance" sort of way. Thanks for sharing these great pictures and I loved your description of ea pic. You have a really cute personality!
Come by to see me sometime...