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Cactus Varieties on St. John

st john flora: barrel cactus

st john flora: pipe organ cactus
Pipe Organ Cactus

 

Pipe Organ Cactus (Cephalocereus) This tall light green cactus branches at the base and has vertical stems. The spines grow in long rows and are extremely formidable. They can pierce clothing and light footwear such as sneakers or sandals.

 

 

st john flora: bird's nest in didildo actis
Bird's Nest

 

 

Some birds make their nests using the spines for support and protection against enemies.

 

 

st john flora: turk head cactus
Turk's Head Cactus

 

 

Also called Barrel Cactus, Pope's Head or Compass Plant (because they tend to tilt toward the south). They are round or barrel-shaped and can grow in hard, rocky, windswept, and sun-drenched environments where little else can survive. The small pink fruit is edible.

 

st john flora: paddle cactus
Paddle Cactus

 

Opuntia ficus-indica, locally called paddle cactus, prickly pear and nopal can be found on St. John cactus scrub lands. The fleshy paddles are edible once the spines are removed and are used in salads, soups and desserts.

Read Paddle Cactus Blog Entry 7/26/2010

 

st john flora: suckers
suckers

 

 

Opuntia repens and Acacia westiana lie low on the ground and are known locally as suckers. The spines can be quite painful and hard to dislodge if you get stuck.

Read a true story about suckers (the names have been withheld to protect the innocent) click here