Fishhook Pincushion Cacti In Bloom

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Fishhook Pincushion Cacti are by far the most diminutive cacti in our local desert.  These little cacti are seldom larger in size than a tennis ball and many are considerably smaller.  They are also inconspicuous, preferring to grow in the shade of larger plants or rocks.  One can often walk right past a Pincushion without seeing it.  They get the name “Fishhook” by the fact that their spines curve, sort of like a fish hook.

But, as inconspicuous as these cacti may be most of the time, they are true showoffs when they are in bloom.  For my money the Fishhook Pincushion Cactus has the most spectacular flowers of any cactus.

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The flowers are, of course, tiny, about the dimensions of a human fingernail.  Each of them lasts a day.  Then it withers and, if the flower has been pollinated, the cactus produces a bright orange fruit, also tiny, which I’ve been told is delicious.

I found a couple of blooming Pincushions the other day and, of course, happily photographed them.  These cacti tend to bloom in abundance during the monsoon rains of July and August, but a few individuals always jump the gun and produce their flowers in the spring.

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You’ll notice that there’s a difference between the flowers of the first and second cactus, with the second cactus producing blooms that contain more white in them.  I’ve seen Pincushions with solid magenta flowers as well and others whose flowers are almost pink in color.  So, they offer a varied display in addition to blooming spectacularly.  It’s quite a show, albeit one on a very small scale.

I mentioned the other day that bees prefer flowers that are purple/blue/fuschia or yellow/orange in color.  The  Fishhook Pincushion appears to have covered all of the bases, with flowers that have magenta coloring but with brilliant yellow male organs.

Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 160, f20 @ 1/160.

One response to “Fishhook Pincushion Cacti In Bloom”

  1. tkiiatmindspringcom says :

    Thanks for taking the time to photograph these beautiful but tiny flowers!

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