Living in, on and around cactus

(Thomas Brown 7 June 2017)

Life in the Mexican desert is, at its very best a challenge.|

The basic requirements for survival, food, shelter and water never seem to be in surplus. Therefore, nothing here ever passes on a chance for a meal. Adaptability, and seasonal knowledge are all part of what makes continued survival a possibility, especially when the terrain is as harsh as this area can be. Bear in mind, even the plants have to find ways to survive, so virtually every one of them has some form of thorny defense.

The cactus are not the only things down here that are protected in this manner. Plants with names like Snake Brush, Gray Thorn, Spiny Redberry, Boat-spine Acacia, and Prickly Poppy all reflect on the way the plants are armored for their own survival.

When it comes to a one stop shopping for food and shelter, no other plant is as widely used as the Cardon Cactus family. Members of the genus Pachycereus, there are a couple of species which are quite prevalent here on the southern Baja. The Aborigines Hairbrush, and the Elephant Cactus. The latter being known for its massive size, often over 15 meters tall, growing up to 10 tons in weight, and living for what is believed to be over 200 years!

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