Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pink Cactus

pink cactus against an adobe wall

Tucson cactus at twilight
There is a variety of the prickly pear cactus, that actually has lavender/pink leaf pads.  It is particularly abundant in Southern Arizona.  I took some pictures on a very warm Tucson eve.  For me, it is a quintessential image of the southwest.  I think of this fruit that some of us harvest, to make juice or jam.  Being very careful to pick it with prongs so as not to get numerous nearly invisible little prickly hairs in your fingers.  The fruit/flower is eaten by a little beetle called cochineal, this creature has been traditionally harvested, ground up and used to make a pink/magenta dye for cloth.  As I look at these pictures, I think also of the native bird life that evening, so different from my mountain home.  Here quail are much more abundant, and there was the call of an evening bird, almost like a night hawk, which we do not have in the high mountains.  Do you like the pictures? 

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