Organ Pipe Cactus
This columnar cactus is the second largest in the U.S. (next to the Saguaro) growing as tall as 23 feet. Instead of having a central stem, however, a cluster of 5 to 20 slender branches grow from a point at ground level and curve gracefully upward.
These water-storing trunks are about 6 inches in diameter and have 12 to 17 deep-green, rounded ribs. The areoles are set close together with 9 or 10 brown, 3/8-inch radial spines that turn gray with age.
Fruits lose their spines at maturity, opening to display an edible red pulp. This fruit has provided a food source to Native Americans for centuries. The pulp can be eaten as is, made into jelly or fermented into a beverage.
In a small area of the Sonoran Desert only from southwestern Arizona to western Sonora, Mexico. Alos see Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
On south-facing, hot, sunny slopes from 1,000 to 3,500 feet.
Lavender-white flowers, 2-1/2 inches long, bloom at night, laterally near the apex of the stems, May through July.
Photo tips: Most digital point-and-shoot cameras have a macro function - usually symbolized by the icon of a little flower. When you turn on that function, you allow your camera to get closer to the subject, looking into a flower for example. Or getting up close and personal with a bug. More on desert photography.
Mojave Desert Wildflowers - This book is the standard by which all other wildflower books are measured. The author, Jon Mark Stewart, has combined super photography with concise information. This book has an entire color page for each wildflower covered, with a discussion of the wildflower. 210 pages with 200 color photos. More...
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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
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