Come on, Come On, Come On, Come On, Touch Me Babe

Uploaded 1 Jun 2017 — 4 favorites
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© JamesHarmon McQuilkin
Views 49
Likes 1
Favorites 4
Comments 4
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More of JamesHarmon McQuilkin’s Photos

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Photo Info
UploadedJune 1, 2017
TakenMay 19, 2017
MakeSony
ModelILCE-5000
Exposure1/200 sec at f/5.6
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length50 mm
ISO1600
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

I admire these from a distance, especially, with animals and children around.
A cactus (plural: cacti, cactuses, or cactus) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae] a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales. The word "cactus" derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek κάκτος, kaktos, a name originally used by Theophrastus for a spiny plant whose identity is not certain. Cacti occur in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Most cacti live in habitats subject to at least some drought. Many live in extremely dry environments, even being found in the Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on earth. Cacti show many adaptations to conserve water. Almost all cacti are succulents, meaning they have thickened, fleshy parts adapted to store water. Unlike many other succulents, the stem is the only part of most cacti where this vital process takes place. Most species of cacti have lost true leaves, retaining only spines, which are highly modified leaves. As well as defending against herbivores, spines help prevent water loss by reducing air flow close to the cactus and providing some shade. In the absence of leaves, enlarged stems carry out photosynthesis. Cacti are native to the Americas, ranging from Patagonia in the south to parts of western Canada in the north—except for Rhipsalis baccifera, which also grows in Africa and Sri Lanka.

Cactus spines are produced from specialized structures called areoles, a kind of highly reduced branch. Areoles are an identifying feature of cacti. As well as spines, areoles give rise to flowers, which are usually tubular and multipetaled. Many cacti have short growing seasons and long dormancies, and are able to react quickly to any rainfall, helped by an extensive but relatively shallow root system that quickly absorbs any water reaching the ground surface. Cactus stems are often ribbed or fluted, which allows them to expand and contract easily for quick water absorption after rain, followed by long drought periods. Like other succulent plants, most cacti employ a special mechanism called "crassulacean acid metabolism" (CAM) as part of photosynthesis. Transpiration, during which carbon dioxide enters the plant and water escapes, does not take place during the day at the same time as photosynthesis, but instead occurs at night. The plant stores the carbon dioxide it takes in as malic acid, retaining it until daylight returns, and only then using it in photosynthesis. Because transpiration takes place during the cooler, more humid night hours, water loss is significantly reduced.

Many smaller cacti have globe-shaped stems, combining the highest possible volume for water storage, with the lowest possible surface area for water loss from transpiration. The tallest free-standing cactus is Pachycereus pringlei, with a maximum recorded height of 19.2 m (63 ft), and the smallest is Blossfeldia liliputiana, only about 1 cm (0.4 in) in diameter at maturity.
Wikaped

4 responses

  • Lynn E. Harvey

    Lynn E. Harvey gave props (1 Jun 2017):

    Yes, I do hear Jim Morrison! Great narrative and excellent detail in this spiney beauty!

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (1 Jun 2017):

    I love how you brought the cactus close and it looks sharp in more ways than one:) Excellent narrtive also as well as the image!

  • Jyri Vissak

    Jyri Vissak gave props (14 Jun 2017):

    Cool find! Art is everywhere.

  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen gave props (18 Apr 2018):

    Back to vote!!!

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