Can we squeeze in another photograph from David Tarrant? I think so (thanks again!). David writes, “This is Opuntia robusta which is very common around here [near San Miguel de Allende, Mexico]. The flowers were taken in April and the fruit this past weekend. The fruit is delicious and known locally as tuna. Also, the young pads of these are delicious as a steamed vegetable once the thorns are removed.”
Wheel cactus is native only to northern and central Mexico, though it has naturalized elsewhere, including South Australia, where it is considered a noxious weed (risk assessment). The genus Opuntia can be found in arid sites from southern Canada to southern Argentina (including the Caribbean Islands and the Galapagos), making it the most widespread of cacti.
I don’t think I have to explain the epithet robusta; if I do, suffice it to say that this species can grow to 6m tall with a 6m spread (20ft.), with pads measuring 30cm (1ft.). I can’t find a top-notch image of this cactus in its full height and spread on a non-commercial site, though one photograph on the CalPhotos site for Opuntia robusta gives a hint.
Photography resource link: André Gallant is a Canadian photographer who does stunning work in colour, often with a nature focus. André often gives workshops alongside Freeman Patterson. To unite this with today’s entry a bit, one of the locales visited by André in his workshops is San Miguel de Allende. Lastly, on the topic of workshops and seminars (and if you’re a local reader), André is speaking this weekend at the Abbotsford Photo Arts Club (APAC) annual conference. Saturday’s sessions are mostly full (or at least the ones I was interested in when I looked earlier this week), but André is also presenting for most of the day on Sunday in Burnaby. You can register for the Sunday presentations through the APAC site – I’ll be there.