Portraits of Wildflowers

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Archive for April 4th, 2014

Tasajillo with fruit

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Tasajillo Cactus with Fruit 3827

Click for greater clarity.

On March 13th I spent some time at McKinney Falls State Park in southeast Austin, where I photographed this Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, known as pencil cactus, Christmas cactus, and tasajillo. Notice how new joints emerge from the upper parts of some of the bright red fruits. Those joints (as well as the others) can break off easily and cling to clothing or fur that has come in contact with them. To give you a sense of scale, I’ll add, thanks to Cacti of Texas, that these little fruits typically reach a length between 1.4 cm and 2.4 cm, or about 9/16 and 15/16 of an inch. Books say that they’re edible, but I think it would take a lot of work, and painstakingly pain-avoiding work at that, to get enough of them to be satisfying.

If you’d like to back away from this closeup and see the kind of thickets that pencil cacti can form, a picture from just over a year earlier will show you; coincidentally, it’s also from McKinney Falls State Park, but a different part.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 4, 2014 at 6:03 AM

Posted in nature photography

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