Hello Friends and Family,

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Spring in the Desert, Part 7

The variety of cacti and their flowers never ceases to amaze me. And the juxtaposition of the threatening cactus spines and the attractive flowers is a wonder of nature. Obviously, the pollinators do not feel threatened — otherwise these plants would have gone extinct ages ago.

Speaking of pollinators, here is one heading for her lunch.

These flowers caught my eye since they appear larger than the cactus. However, it wasn't until I loaded the image into Photoshop that I noticed that the flowers were so bright that it almost looks like there is a light embedded in the center of the flower. Honest — no Photoshop tricks here.

Next is a cactus with a gnarly exterior but delicate enticing flowers. Love it.

Everywhere I turn is more Prickly Pear cactus — this one a purple variety with bright yellow flowers. By the way, did you know that you can make jelly from the fruit of this cactus? You can buy it online or at most tourist attractions in the desert (including the Desert Botanical Garden). I have tried it and it is quite tasty.

Even a tiny cactus can sport nasty spines — and beautiful flowers.

Note the shape of the spines on this cactus — they resemble fish hooks, leading to the name of the cactus, the Fish Hook Cactus.

This cactus is rather curious — lying on the desert floor rather than being upright. Its flowers are cute, albeit small.

Here two barrel cacti grow together. Curiously, one has flowers and the other does not.

This may be one of the most unusual specimens I have ever encountered. What a strange shape exhibited by the flowers. Note the very fine spines — they make up in numbers what they lack in thickness. Brush against this plant and you'll be removing spines from your skin for hours.

Last for this week is a cluster of small cacti with very long spines. Perhaps, it is my weird imagination but I see a group of kindergarden kids on a field trip with some of the kids wearing brightly colored hats. Weird, indeed.

To be continued.

Life is good.

B. David

P. S., All photos and text © B. David Cathell Photography, Inc. — www.bdavidcathell.com