Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for January 30th, 2013

A hole in one

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Prickly Pear Pad with a Hole in It 5945

As is appropriate for this subject, click for greater sharpness.

January 23 found me in northwest Austin close to Loop 360 near Bluffstone Dr., and that’s an accurate name because I did follow a path up a rocky bluff overlooking the highway. As I walked along, one thing that caught my attention was this hole—which is actually the lack of a thing—in the pad of a prickly pear cactus, Opuntia engelmannii. There are a lot of these cacti in central Texas, and it’s not that unusual to see a hole in one of their pads from time to time. My guess is that the hole you see here was the result of a process like the one I showed in a post almost a year ago, which I assumed to be the work of a fungus. Still, most of you don’t live near cacti of this type, so a hole in one of them may strike you as strange. Take that as a prelude, because more prickly pear strangeness is coming your way next time.

UPDATE: Holes like this may be caused by fungi in the genus Phyllosticta, as I found in this article.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 30, 2013 at 6:22 AM

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