Apparently August is cactus month. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to celebrate growing cactus, hugging cactus, or eating cactus. Outside of the one website that said it was cactus month, I haven’t actually been able to find anything else on it. But I decided I didn’t care. One website was enough reason to put together a lightbox of some of the coolest pictures available on the prickly plant. And it was also a fun excuse to think about random cactus stories.
I lived in Tempe, Arizona for nearly two years and cactus is everywhere there. People use it as front yard landscaping (which was sometimes dangerous when walking on the sidewalk – I had a skirt brush against a cholla cactus once, it was painful) and it was less than an hour drive to the Superstition Mountains where the Saguaro cactus were as thick as pine trees covering the foothills. It was beautiful. I’ve owned two cactus plants (cacti?) in my life and both came to rather brown and brittle ends. My husband says it’s because I’m less nurturing than the desert, but I still argue that there just wasn’t much sunlight coming in to our black hole of an apartment at the time. It’s probably a mash up of the two.
Here are six facts about cactus that you may not have known (but you do need to know, one could save your life):
- There are more than 2,000 species of cacti. I can name a few around AZ (prickly pear, cholla, barrel, saguaro), but beyond that I’m not sure how much more naming a cactus needs beyond “pointy sharp things; don’t touch.”
- The root system of a cactus is massive. On the saguaro cactus, the roots stay very shallow and grow in length as long as the cactus is tall (they can be 40 feet tall, so that’s a lot of roots)
- The saguaro cactus can live as long as 300 years.
- Peyote, a hallucinogen when ingested, is actually a cactus (I really didn’t know that – and it’s a rather pretty little cactus).
- Cacti don’t need much water. They can store water inside, expanding their spines to hold more water when they need it (if you’re ever dying of thirst in the desert, find the nearest cactus).
- The saguaro flower is the state flower of Arizona.
There you have it. You’re a veritable cactus expert now
Go ahead and check out some of these great pictures of cactus we have in this post, then head back to Newscom to see more pictures of cacti.
You may be interested in some of these other posts from FocalPoint:
This entry was posted on Friday, August 17th, 2012 at 5:38 pm and is filed under Pictures of the Week. You can follow any comments to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.