Cactus Spines – A ‘Don’t Touch Me’ World

Living in Arizona has taught me a few things about the Danger of Cactus Spines! While it is unlikely they would cause any serious reaction, the punctures can be painful!

When I go on a ‘Nature’ walk, I carry a pair of pliers to pull cactus spines out of the soles of my shoes. When I am working in my yard, I wear thick leather gloves, and I never back up without knowing which plant is poised and ready to attack my leg. Even plants in the succulent family can inflict damage – Agave leaves can have razor sharp edges or wicked spears on the tips.

Like a porcupine, some cactus readily shed their spines into your skin. Usually I can remove them with a pair of tweezers. Then it is a simple matter to wash off the blood, and apply an antiseptic of some sort.

If I had been attacked by a large number of very small ‘hairy’ spines, there are apparently several ‘bulk removal’ methods. The first is to spread a layer of white glue over the area, let it dry, then peel it off. The other way is to smooth a piece of sticky tape over the area, then peel it off. Apparently duct tape works well.

I bought a cactus. A week later it died. And I got depressed, because I thought, Damn. I am less nurturing than a desert.
– Demetri Martin –

This week’s Photo Challenge is Danger.

What is the most dangerous thing that grows in your ‘neck of the woods’?

3 thoughts on “Cactus Spines – A ‘Don’t Touch Me’ World

  1. Wonderful subject for the challenge. I agree about the cactus spines. They sound dreadful. It’s great there’s ways to protect yourself and also ways to safely remove them. 🙂


  2. Well, England is largely innocent of such dangers. We could kill ourselves by eating certain plants and fungi, but those would be more conscious acts than accidentally getting speared by a cactus. Your photos show us how intimidating certain plants can be!


    1. Isn’t it interesting how many plants are the source of toxins, but also beneficial drugs?!
      I can sure attest to how much damage cactus spines and agave leaves can do to your skin!

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