Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cholla Blooms

Since it seems that yesterday I shared only the less happy side of the cholla cactus, I have decided to share today why I love that particular desert plant - despite the fact that it may not always seem like it.The cholla family of cactus is common in Arizona and often seen on the many trails both in the Phoenix area and elsewhere. With their thin winding branches and generous dose of thorns, they are not easy to miss.

What is really amazing about them however, is their flowers. They bloom mid to late spring and its a wonderful game of chance. They flower in all manner of colors- reds, pinks, yellows and oranges. You are never sure what you are going to get, and I have seen plants sport multiple colors of the blooms at once.

In addition to being a veritable grab bag of desert color, these plants have unique flowers.

Right now, when you stroll a natural area or cactus garden, you will witness dozens of varieties of cactus blooming in their full glory. Most have slender, elongated, pointed petals that compliment the defining spines the plant carries. The petals are delicately satin like, and thin, letting light pass thorough them easily.

The cholla on the other hand, carries thick, stout, waxy petals. Because of this trait, cholla blooms stand out easily. They are roundish small blooms compared to those of similarly sized plants of other species.

For the time that they are blooming, their unique nature captures plenty of attention. In a desert full of cactus, something besides the bad rap has to set this cactus apart. The flowers are a nice start.

No comments: