Deceptive: Cactus Flower

Yellow echinopsis cactus flower
Not as soft as they look – those hairs on the stem can irritate your skin!

What could be more inoffensive than a flower? We’re used to thinking of them as pretty and delicate – which this cactus flower certainly is. And it’s ephemeral too. The flower only lasts a day or two before it’s gone.

But don’t be taken in by the fragile appearance of the flower. See those hairs on the flower stem (or ‘flower tube’)? They aren’t as soft and silky as they look. And, oh, don’t touch! I did – accidentally – and I regretted it.

Those hairs don’t look anywhere as threatening as the spines on the body of the cactus but they can be really painful to your skin. I don’t actually know (or remember – it was a long time ago) whether it was the hairs themselves containing some sort of irritant, or whether the hairs hide tiny barbs. Either way, it taught me to be more careful!

If you do get cactus barbs or hairs stuck in your skin, remove what you can with tweezers. Then try covering the area with a thin layer of a suitable household glue (Elmers etc), lay a piece of gauze over it, let it dry and pull off to remove the rest. Ouch!

17 thoughts on “Deceptive: Cactus Flower

    1. Cacti can be a wee bit sneaky! My Dad was convinced that Mum’s used to hide behind the sitting-room curtains, waiting for a chance to jump out and get him, hehe!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Indira! I’d love the chance to photograph more cactus flowers – maybe I’ll have to try growing one or two again. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you Shelly! It was the shades of colour that drew me to photograph it. You’d be OK touching the flower itself, but not that hairy stem! It’s bitey, LOL!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Ann – thanks for the advice on treating a cactus sting. I remember while in Arizona I saw a Jumping Cactus or Jumping Cholla I think it is called. They give a really nasty sting when brushed against and they also look so innocent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, err, yikes! The little cacti are bad enough! The name sounds rather scary – as if it comes after you! I suspect there are a few plants that aren’t as innocent as they look…

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  2. Hello Ann, I wonder whether you have ever harvested hollyhock seeds. I had a similar experience to you with these plants yesterday, and I’m going to blog about them on my other site, hermionelaakeloveslavendar; this year in the South West we have seen more bees than usual and my partner wondered if this was why we have such a wonderful harvest of seeds from our hollyhocks.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing the seeds grow into small plants.plants

    Like you I was surprised at the pain inflicted by the flower (although in my case, it was the pics that wouldn’t give up their seeds easily; very prickly), so beautiful and yet so determined to survive. A metaphor for nature perhaps….

    With love,

    Hermione

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, the pods I harvested are brown. Thank you for the link. I would like to share your link on my blog which I am adding photos to this morning; would you like that or prefer not…? I expect that I may have been a little impatient in prising the pods open…. as they were not fully open, but I was expecting heavy rain, which has, so far, held off.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thank you Ann. The link is great. Yes, I was a little impatient. I don’t know of any seeds you can harvest from pods that are not brown:….anyway, I am still learning…. I did prise the brown pods open a little, as I was expecting heavy rain and soggy plants, anyway that has not happened, so perhaps I will wait until they are fully open in a couple of weeks.

        I would like to include the link to your blog on my next post, which by coincidence, is about prickles; my site: https://hermionelaakeloveslavendar

        Let me know if this is OK.

        Thank you,

        Hermione

        Liked by 1 person

      3. You’re welcome – glad you found the link interesting. Yep, I’m still learning too and I suspect I always will be where gardening is concerned! I’d be delighted for you to share a link to my blog. πŸ™‚

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