Friday, May 16, 2014

Bright Summer Yellow

It is already well over 100 degrees here in the desert. I loved these bright yellow Fishhook Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus wislizeni) that are growing in our front yard in Mesa, Arizona. These cactus bloom several times during the year, unlike most of the other cactus in the surrounding desert. A very old barrel cactus can be 8 to 10 feet high, but you hardly ever see one that large. A few years ago, I wrote several blog posts about the myth that you could get enough water to survive in the desert from cutting open a barrel cactus and drinking the contents. This myth is totally false. The pulp inside is very bitter and could cause you to throw up and lose even more liquid. Only the Ferocactus wislizeni is edible, the rest of the barrel-like cactus are toxic. In addition, all cactus in Arizona are protected by law. So don't try this out or you may incur a sizable fine.

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