Wednesday, May 21
Every spring, it’s the same surprise. In the morning there’s more color besides the usual dull green or blue on the cactus plants. You’d better catch it quick because it may not be there in a couple of days. Cactus flowers are simply outrageous in their shapes and colors. Mostly we get yellow flowers on our prickly pear plants, but these little barrel cacti go in for the more lavender-ish hue. On the left, the flower measures 8 inches or a little over 20 centimeters from tip to base. Shown above, the center of the flower is almost black; it’s hollow clear down to the base. I know this for a fact since I poked a grass stem down into it for its entire length. If I were a pollinating insect, I’d be leery of this one; what if there was some insectivorous animal hiding down there, or a pool of chitin-dissolving liquid, or worse yet, a vacuum cleaner salesman! Which reminds me: The best thing you can say about a vacuum cleaner is that it really sucks.