My Spiny Valentine

– Posted in: Succulents

Prickly pear cactus pads sometimes form hearts. I wonder what the plant is trying to tell us: “Be mine but don’t touch me?”

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Cactus hearts

Purple heart

This last is a mammillaria. (You can call her Ma’am.) Here’s a  bit of trivia: I used to think that mammillaria got their name because they’re rounded like mammillary glands.

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But no, it’s because they’re covered with bumps, and at the tip of each is an aureole from which spines emerge. So now you know. ;+)

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 My goal is to share the beauty of waterwise, easy-care succulents in gardens, containers and landscapes via blog postsnewsletterspublic speaking and workshopsphotosvideosmerchandise, and social media (Facebook and Pinterest). My books: Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardensand Succulents Simplified.  www.debraleebaldwin.com 

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored the Timber Press bestsellers Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. Debra is a regular contributor to Sunset and other publications, and her own half-acre garden near San Diego has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens. Debra specializes in showing how to use architectural, waterwise and easy-care succulents in a wide variety of appealing and creative applications. www.debraleebaldwin.com.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

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commonweeder February 6, 2014, 8:18 am

I always say a walk down the garden path takes us into many areas of study beyond botany. This doesn’t look like a loving plant, but the flowers are pretty – and it is amazingly hardy.
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Mary Yee February 6, 2014, 12:48 pm

Thanks for these fabulous photos! I didn’t realize prickly pear pads came in so many colors (and I suppose even those change with the seasons).

Catherine February 6, 2014, 4:55 pm

Ah, I think it means that true love is not just ‘warts and all’, but spines and prickles too. When people give roses, they remove all the thorns, pretending that love is just about beauty. I’d rather have these ‘true love’ spiky hearts any day.
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Candy Suter February 15, 2014, 12:44 am

I love trivia about succulents! Great post and super photos!
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