It’s that time of year when the cacti start bloomin’ – a lot of them probably have already! As an avid cacti/succulent lover myself (how original) I thought I’d put together a quick guide of the ones I saw (and loved!) when I was living in Arizona during this time 2 years ago (ahhhh why does time go by so fast…).
This is the best time of year to visit the desert, in my opinion, because it’s not toooo hot yet and of course, CACTUS BLOOMS! (Also I am not perfect and don’t know everything specifically, but I’m doing my best :))
Oh, hello there you cool cactus you. Saguaros (pronounced “Sa-war-o”; yeah, I’m one of those snobby people) are the poster children of the cacti world, I feel like. They’re the tall, almost person-like looking cacti.
And, they’re so badass, they even have a whole national park named after them (Saguaro National Park in Arizona!). They can grow up to 60 FEET TALL (and that’s SIXTY) and weigh up to 4800 POUNDS when fully hydrated. LIKE ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME. I’ve never actually seen one fall, but one person I knew heard an arm break off, and apparently it sounded like a really loud gunshot. WHAT.
They can also outlive us at 150-200 years old. I can go so much more into Saguaros – they really are fascinating!! And just totally otherworldly – pretty alien-like, in my opinion.
CLARET CUP (A TYPE OF HEDGEHOG CACTUS)
I’m ridiculously obsessed with their perfect red flowers. I so wish I could cuddle with them but that would be probably the worst idea I’ve ever had (and trust me, I’ve had some bad ones).
Look at this little guy! I think Hedgehog Cacti are some of my faves. There multiple different kinds, and I admit that I’m not sure exactly which one this is (there are like 5 different ones that have pink flowers lolol), so if you know, let me know! You know?
Like bruh. Check out those fire blossoms. And that lighting though. And also this technically isn’t a cactus – but I’m listing it here anyways because it looks like one to me.
TEDDY BEAR CHOLLA
[Chillin’ with Teddy Bear Cholla (aka Jumping Cholla) in Joshua Tree National Park]
They’re so cute! At least I think so. I think that’s kinda why they got the name “Teddy Bear Cholla”? But also. Here’s what’s not so cute:Yep. It got stuck to my freaking shoe. Don’t worry (I know you’re probably so concerned about me) – I wasn’t hurt. It just took forever to get it off my shoe.
MORE CHOLLA CACTI
I’m pretty sure these are all either Buckhorn or Staghorn Cholla, but I don’t know enough to make a final determination. Their flowers are soooo pretty, though!
Why do you think it’s called beavertail? Because it looks like a beaver’s tail 🙂 #science
But also, aren’t the pink blooms soooo pretty? I love the color. I saw this little guy in Joshua Tree National Park!
FISHHOOK BARREL CACTUS
Their fruit kinda reminds me of little pineapples. Although I think they taste far from that. They get their name due to their spines curving down like a fishhook, and they also are in the shape of a barrel. So, there ya go. (There is another cactus, the Barrel Cactus, that looks similar, but is more circular in shape with straight spines).
PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS
Yay prickly pear! I feel like this is another cactus posterchild, like the Saguaro. I’ve also had their fruit before from the supermarket (without the spines of course) and it was pretty bomb. I’ve seen two different colors of flowers from this cacti (although I’m sure there are many different varieties!!): yellow and pink.
Okay, I have a secret: my friends and I were playing odds, and I lost and had to eat part of one of the yellow prickly pear flowers. It’s edible, and really didn’t taste like much.
PURPLE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS
Oh yes, it gets better, because there is a such thing as a PURPLE PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS. Like how pretty is that??? I love love love.
There are, of course, a ton more cacti varieties, but these are the ones I commonly saw while I was in the southwest. And I became totally obsessed with them, and still am! My grandma has a huge cacti/succulent garden that I love. And, like the typical millennial hipster that I am (does anyone even use the word ‘hipster’ anymore? I’m getting too old to know what all the yunguns are saying these days), of course have tried to raise my own cacti/succulent babies. And mostly failed.
[Yellow Prickly Pear flower]
But anyways, I hope you enjoyed learning about cacti! It was fun for me to write, since I got to relive my cacti obsession. 🙂