The Barrel Cactus
When the Barrel Cactus is young, it is usually spherical in shape. But when it grow's up it becomes cyllindrical in shape. So the plant has a lot of space to store water, yet evaporation is slight. The biggest barrel cacti can reach a height of 6-9 ft and weigh a full ton. It needs strong sunlight to grow.
[ a barrel cactus cut up into half ]
[ A group of Barrel Cacti ]
1. Provide water source for travellers. But geting water is hard. One must behead the plant, the mash the pulpy interior until a liquid is formed.(rather unpleasant taste)
2. Their spines are so tough and hard. Indians use them as fishhooks. Also, they use them as HAT pins.
3. Early Indians used the hollowed out bodies of the Barrel Cacti for portable cooking vessels. The strong spines kept the cactus pot from ? and the women cooked on hot stones.
This barrel cactus got the name candy cactus because its white flesh was once cut up into tiny cubes and then boiled in syrup to remove its bitterness. Then, rolled into sugar and left to dry in the sun. Very delicious indeed!
Did you know?
A barrel cactus can be filled with too much water and topple but continue growing:)