Cactus: Arizona Yard Full of Prickles

We spent part of our winter in Arizona. The landscaping in our yard is more aptly called hardscaping since it is mostly paving stones and rock. There are a number of green plants – most of them of the prickly variety. Here they are, up close in all their spiny glory.

Golden Barrel Cactus


Fishhook Barrel Cactus

Possibly a type of Hedgehog Cactus

Saguaro Cactus

Prickly Pear Cactus

There is one animal that is not intimidated by the Prickly Pear Cactus. It is the Javelina. It looks much like a Wild Boar, but it isn’t. I haven’t actually seen Javelinas in our yard, but I do know what they dine on – my Prickly Pear Cactus!

He’d always had a quickening of the heart when he crossed into Arizona and beheld the cactus country. This was as the desert should be, this was the desert of the picture books, with the land unrolled to the farthest distant horizon hills, with saguaro standing sentinel in their strange chessboard pattern, towering supinely above the fans of ocotillo and brushy mesquite.
– Dorothy B. Hughes, The Expendable Man –

25 thoughts on “Cactus: Arizona Yard Full of Prickles

    1. I didn’t really appreciate the complexity of spines until I started to photograph them. They really are both beautiful and painful!


    1. I found a broken off piece of one type of cactus, and I thought I would pick it up and bring it home to plant. Big mistake – I would have had to go home and get a pair of pliers to capture it.


  1. Your macro is stunning. I bet your hardscaping is quite lovely. I visited Arizona when I was a girl. I really enjoyed it. The cactus are beautiful watchers of the sands. I didn’t know about the Javelina. I’m going to go search out a photo and see what it looks like. My guess of the bite marks would have been from a turtle or tortoise. πŸ™‚


  2. We had Javelina’s go through nearby vegetation at our campsite while we were camped at Cave Creek Regional Park. We were sitting around a campfire and shined flashlights on them. They were huge. Very cool pictures of the cactus close up.


    1. I was walking one of the paths in a nearby nature reserve and soon discovered why I need to buy hard sole shoes. The spines that lay on the paths went right through the soles of my sneakers.


    1. I hate to even think what that would feel like, and some of the spines are curved like fish hooks, so would be difficult to remove.


      1. Some people even use cactus as a non-count noun, so the plural is merely “cactus.”

        It’s interesting that many of those words ending in -us (fungus, syllabus) can also be pluralized by adding -es. I tend to follow the Latin form and add “i” – fungi, syllabi.


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