Monday, June 9, 2008

"A Vicious Teddy Bear..."

Cylindropuntia bigelovii

From a distance the stems of this cactus appear short and fuzzy,
giving it the name "teddy bear" cactus. HAH!
Well...this is the first "teddy bear" that ever "stuck" me!
And so, the story goes...Once upon a time...

...Some 20 years ago while on a vacation trip to Arizona we were out exploring the wonders of the Sonoran desert. After spotting a fairly good sized grouping of these beautiful cacti, backlit by the sun, we thought it would make a perfect setting for a photograph. As I knelt at the side of one of the cacti...a clump of the cactus broke off and actually embedded itself into my thigh..smack dab right through my JEANS! I did the "screamy frantic tourist dance" for a few minutes before I realized how serious it was. Then the long tedious effort of removing the spines began...and lasted well into the night. Long story short I have since learned to keep my distance!

Like its cousin the jumping cholla, the stems of this cactus detach easily. The ground around a mature plant is often littered with scattered cholla balls. Small plants start where these balls have rooted and a forest of cholla begins its life. When a piece of this cholla sticks to an unsuspecting person, a good method to remove the cactus is with a hair comb. (Wish I knew that then!) The spines are barbed, and hold on tightly. Desert pack rats gather these balls around their burrows, creating a defense against predators. Nature always finds a way, doesn't it?

I photographed
this particular cholla flower bud...
...keeping my distance...
while hiking in the White Tank Mountains,
a couple of miles from where I presently live in Arizona.

My advice for the day:
Live and Learn!
and have a
Happy Cactus Monday All! :)

10 comments:

lyn said...

I love other peoples cacti, they hurt me if I have them in my garden! My daughter left a now 8 foot tall one here. I'll photograph it and draw it for catus monday and perhaps you would know what kind it is! Thanks for your comment...skyscape

teric said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Teri C said...

LOL, been there done that also. It must be the tourist initiation to Arizona. I have a LOT of respect for these babies!

Gorgeous bud.

Happy Cactus Monday!

Judybec said...

Great photo. Love your description of the "screamy frantic tourist dance" YIKES!

Forever Young said...

oh goodness me, what an experience, ouch is all i can say.

Deborah said...

Beautiful picture and great story. I like the zentangle designed cactus too.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I have had one of those learning experiences with cactus too. OUCH!
A belated Happy Cactus Monday.

Margaret Ann said...

Thanks all for your comments..It's really interesting how many cactus experiences we have in common...LOL Ouch!

Lyn...I looked at your cactus...wow! It's gigantic! Sorry but I don't have a clue as to what kind it is. I love your painting of it tremendously.

freebird said...

I live up in Kingman on 40 acres. We fenced off two of them and have tried to remove most of the cacti. One of our dogs keeps jumping the fence and occasionally comes back full of stickers she can't remove. Trying to remove barbs from a big dogs lips or tongue is NOT an easy task. It's amazing how seldom she does this considering she runs every day.

Serena said...

OUCH on your experience but a beautiful pic.