Monday, February 27, 2012
Buck-horn Cholla, Cylindopuntia acanthocarpa, Tijuana Slough. Acanthocarpa was a best guess. Let me know if you believe it is a different species as I believe acanthocarpa may bloom later in some locales. In any case, this particular species (acanthocarpa for lack of a better name) is in full bloom at the Tijuana Slough/Estuary Reserve down in Imperial Beach, California. They're quite beautiful but their little paws detach all too easily and are a nasty, prickly mess if you happen to get one in your shoe or into your clothing. They actually have tiny/microscopic barbs that latch them in good and tight. I accidentally stepped on a small pad and the spikes stabbed me right through the leather of my tennis shoe. The spines in the sole would not come out without pliers so I settled for detaching them from the paw and leaving them there (as they had not poked through the rubber itself). Apparently, some native Americans tribes harvested the unopened flower buds, de-spined them and roasted them for food (kind of like a cactus artichoke).