Monday, January 30, 2006

Opuntia in the palm tree

Yesterday we went walking in Agua Caliente Park to see the ring-necked ducks. They're wintering in the warm spring-fed lake. (See Firefly Forest post of January 22 for fine photos and to learn more about these lovely little ducks.)

At the entry, we spotted this prickly pear cactus (Opuntia engelmannii) growing in the trunk of a palm tree, about twelve feet above the ground.

Even though this species is drought tolerant, it appears that the severe dry spell we've been having has taken its toll on this plant. I don't know if prickly pears commonly grow like this; it's the first time we've seen an example. I assume that the seed must have been deposited in the tree by a bird. (Anyone know?)


T. Beth said...

I've been to this park numerous times, and I have never noticed this oddity. What can be keeping this cactus alive?

Bisbee Birder said...

In upper Garden Canyon on Fort Huachuca, there's an Arizona Sycamore with a Clock-face Prickly-Pear (Opuntia chlorotica) growing out of one of its crotches (sounds painful, don't it?). Ringtails are another possibility - they love fruit and are great climbers.