Sometimes in the heat of summer, a cactus will shine above the rest. While most cacti bloom in spring, the Fishhook Barrel Cactus decides to bloom in the middle of monsoon and will make desert dwellers say, "OOoooooo!" Or "Dios Mío". Or "Mot$#^$#@@!" if they get stabbed because they got too close or weren't paying attention. Now I would never say such things, but my friends have because they were walking a trail and didn't look where they were stepping. In the desert, that's usually guaranteed to ignite an "F Bomb". In my classroom, that would be a "-5" and call home:)
Why "Fishhook"? Look at the barbs on this beast. In fact while snapping this pic up close, my camera strap got hooked. This was taken at my school site and on my way to the car, I grabbed the camera and took a couple shots:)
A great choice for your desert garden here in Tucson, the Fishhook Barrel cactus should have some space around it and really never be watered unless there are large periods of time without rain. It thrives here in the Sonoran desert and is extremely xeric, but do keep away from walkways as the spines do jab and draw blood.
This particular cactus thrives in FULL sun. And hey, some of you may not know this but this plant is also known as the "compass of the desert". In adulthood, fishhook barrel cacti generally leans southward, toward the sun, earning it the nickname "compass barrel cactus." Now think about this plant in relation to the history of the desert and native peoples who lived here. Pretty cool stuff.
The barbs are tough and strong. It's a slow grower and the lifespan is around 50-100 years. Inexperienced humans tend to shorten the lifespan by putting a drip line near the base. Eventually it will grow so large that it will tip over to the side because of its sun preference. And who digs this cactus besides the gardeners? Well Mule Deer, Javelina, birds, and other critters enjoy the fruits from this plant. And yes, you can eat these fruits by making delicious jelly and candy. That's if the birds don't get to them first:)
And this grasshopper knew where to go and stay safe:) Plants are as cool as the critters that need them. More from the garden and around Tucson tomorrow.....