Rainbow Bloom

May 28, 2008

We hiked in Bisbee on Sunday and came across this Arizona Rainbow Cactus (Echinocereus pectinatus var. rigidissimus) in full bloom.  These small cacti are common on rocky slopes in desert grassland and oak woodland.  They only bloom for a day, and this is only the second time I’ve seen one in full flower.  The cactus in the photo is about six inches tall, with three two-inch flowers.  The Rainbow Cactus is named for the unique alternating colorbands of white and red spines.  This species is also unusual in that the areoles (individual spine clusters) have no central spine, only the ring of thin flat spines, so these cacti are less prickly than most of their relatives.  The flowers are light magenta, and like all cactus flowers they fluoresce or “glow” in daylight, making them appear even brighter.  Round, prickly red fruits ripen with the summer rains. 

Arizona rainbow cactus

Yesterday I made a pair of earrings that will probably go with the “Lady of the Lake” necklace.  These are featherweights forged from tiny cut nails, and are 1 3/4″ long including the earwires.  Didn’t get any time in the shop at all last week, with all the wind, rain, cold, and (on the mountains above 8000 feet) snow!

spiral curly cone earrings

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3 Responses to “Rainbow Bloom”

  1. judithornot said

    I’ve never seen an Arizona Rainbow Cactus before — they are lovely!

  2. maria said

    beautiful work…..

  3. The nails remind me of the shape of French Horns.

    Perhaps they would like to hear Benjamin Britten’s “Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings” before making their way in the world?

    The splendour falls on castle walls
    And snowy summits old in story:
    The long light shakes across the lakes,
    And the wild cataract leaps in glory:
    Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
    Bugle blow; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.

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