How anything so prickly and uninviting as a cactus can produce something as delicate and beautiful as a cactus flower seems a miracle. But then again, don’t we all hide our most sensitive qualities under a prickly exterior sometimes?
Many cactus flowers are night blooming as they get pollinated by nocturnal insects like moths or small animals like bats. Depending on the cactus species, the flower shapes can be tube-like, bell-like or wheel-shaped. Sizes range from one fifth of a centimetre to 15-30 cm.
Except for the Rhipsalis baccifera cactus species that can be found across the tropics of the world, cacti are prevalent in the Americas but with their growing popularity, have been imported all over the world. Among the most common and well-known are Prickly Pears, Barrel cacti, Saguaro cacti (featuring in most Western films), Aztekium cacti, and Echinopsis a.k.a. the hedgehog cactus that can be found as houseplants on many window sills.
Cacti showing their (almost) true colours at Huntington Gardens in San Marino, CA:
What do you think, cactus face or cactus pizza?
Image: Michael Seljos
Tiny miracle – a beautiful pink cactus flower with ants crawling over it for good measure:
Image: Ana Cotta
Beautiful small pink and orange flowers, captured in Sacramento, CA:
A field of cacti or cactus soldiers?
Image: Sonic TK
A bit of yellow in a sea of cactus “wool” – a true winner, taken in the Peruvian Andes at an altitude of 4,000 m:
Image: Alvaro Castañón Seoane
Cactus cupcakes, anyone?
Image via Cactus Serrano
A shining star among the cactus flowers:
The many flowers of this barrel cactus have matured into fruits that themselves seem to form a flower again:
Image: Andrew Larsen
We’ll even throw in a free album.