Photographed near Shaw Butte, Phoenix, Maricopa Co., Arizona. June 18, 2002.
The flower color is variable, from yellow to orange to nearly red. Also visible in this photo are fleshy, spike-shaped leaves on the new shoot. These tender leaves are edible and tasty! Pull gently while twisting. They wither and are shed by the plant within a month or so. Observed at Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., AZ.
Once the flower has been pollinated the fleshy petals wither around the stamens and stigmas and thus remains attached to the end of the fruit for a few days. Inside a suite of insects devour the leftover pollen and unneeded flower parts. The cactus sap beetle is a prominent host of this niche; emerging from the flower above and enlarged at right.
By summer the mature fruit dries into a prickly burr. 12 Aug. 2017. White Tank Mountains, Maricopa Co., Arizona.
JOINTS: The stems are succulent and formed into cylindrical
joints mostly less than 30 cm long
and 2½ to 5 cm in
diameter. The tubercles on the joints are conspicuously raised and elongate.
Cactaceae -- Cactus Family
This salmon colored bloom was observed in the Estrella Mountain Wilderness on 19 Apr. 2009.
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