After finding this treasure at East Side Succulents in Austin, we have become pretty obsessed with cacti.
The fine folks at East Side dealt with the spines and potted our fine prickly friend into a beautiful turquoise ceramic pot from Tillery Street Plant Co.
Although cacti are succulents, they require different care. We were told to drench it with water every two weeks and place it in full sunlight to get enough energy to bloom. Within a couple of weeks, new buds appeared.
Voila! Within a couple of days, they blossomed.
Excited to see some wild cacti, we packed the dogs in our Jeep Wrangler and headed for Enchanted Rock State Park.
These beauties were the best of our photo safari:
There are 1,500 to 1,800 species of cacti. The smallest grows to less than an inch, the largest grows to 66 feet.
The spines are actually leaves that evolved as protection from herbivores.
Cacti are only native to the Americas, ranging from Patagonia in South America through the U.S. to areas of western Canada. One species, Rhipsalis baccifera, is the exception, it is also found in tropical Africa, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka. It is thought that droppings from migratory birds dispersed the Rhipsalis seed to these other lands.