Opuntia Bigelovii

February 16, 2010

opuntiaSo, you’re taking a little hike in the desert, maybe thinking to yourself “what’s so tough about the Sonoran desert?” All this rattlesnake hype is for girls, never mind the silly warnings about dehydration and the advice to carry diesel drums of water and a pack of beef jerky and trail mix along just in case you get lost. And you decide to take a shortcut through the desert in order to get a better view of the mountains, or maybe you spot what you think might be a dead body off in the distance, and then…wham, you bump into one of these little bastards. Or worse, you step on one of their spiny offspring, and then on your next step you propel the nasty little fucker into the backside of your calf. They’re called jumping cholla, or Opuntia, and while I don’t  think they actually jump, I can assure you that you will jump once you’ve impaled yourself  on one of these, and that you will be picking their poison-filled spines out of your skin for weeks.

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