Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Prickly Pears and Jumping Cactus

This is prickly pear cactus in bloom out in the Florida scrub. In the scrub, the sand is so deep and porous that rainfall drains through it quickly. This creates almost desert-like conditions at the surface, perfect for a survivor like the prickly pear.

The prickly pear is one tough plant. If a piece touches the ground it roots and a new cactus begins. A piece pulled up and left out of the soil will live for weeks...maybe months. The spines are slightly barbed and when they puncture your skin, it hurts as much coming out as it did going in. I have proved this point (hah!) about a thousand times in my life.

On my property, I move them to the front just outside of my fence. It seems to deter stray dogs and other uninvited "guests". They will puncture car tires if you hit 'em right.

"Jumping Cactus" (probably not the official name) are a different form of prickly pear that consists of a chain of small oval,plum size, pads loaded with spines. Should you walk through them, the motion of your legs will toss segments up into your calf region. OUCH! I hate jumping cactus...I really do. Posted by Picasa


Hick said...

When I was living in Southern Calif. we had some Jumping Cactus similar to yours but they had those little, teeny, tiny spikes that you can't see until you walk by the dang cactus. Then you feel the spikes as they jump onto your arm or leg. Then, it's heck trying to get them out.

roger said...

" I have proved this point (hah!) about a thousand times in my life." science marches on!

i like the deterrent use of cactus.

Floridacracker said...

We also have a grass called "Sandspur" that has tiny barbed spike covered seeds that are painful to extract from skin.

My students always say, " Mr. P. have you been stung, poked, and bit by everything in Florida?"