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Archive for the ‘Family: Cactus’ Category

At the end of October, I traveled to Barcelona.  The temperature was in the sixties and I was pleased to see many flowers blooming.  I had traveled from Boston, where the fall was starting and the golden rod, the last flowers left, were pretty much gone.

What was fun about the Spanish flora was the cacti!  Being from the Northeastern part of the U.S., we don’t have naturally growing cacti so it’s a special thrill to see cacti growing in the wild.  As I was walking a path near Park Guell, I took a snapshot of this huge prickly pear.  In Spanish, it is called Nopal Estricto.  Nopales is the vegetable made from the prickly pear.

This kind of cactus is the most cold-tolerant cactus.  New fact: all true cacti species are native to the Americas.  Therefore, this one found in Spain is a transplant… I wonder when they first came over? The prickly pear is on the list of the world’s 100 worst invasive species.

I hope to some day get a photo of the prickly pear in bloom or with some fruit.  This one looks like it must be pretty old, it is very big and it holds the scars from people carving into its stems. In cacti, the stem has evolved to be photosynthetic and succulent and the leaves have evolved into spines through adaptation to dry and/or hot climates.

Prickly Pear, Barcelona, Spain

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