Featured Article | Plant Life

Cochneal and Christmas Cholla

(Christmas Cholla, pencil cactus and tasajillo are common names for the plant Opuntia leptocaulis.) A Christmas Cholla growing in the shade of a mesquite tree was covered with what appeared to be tiny balls of cotton. Closer examination revealed that the "cotton" was composed of silky threads with tiny flecks of red and a pinkish stain. One of the white puffs was removed and placed under a microscope. Enlarged 36 times, the red specks proved to be cone-shaped, waxy, and composed of disc-like segments. Although no head or legs were visible, the Curious Naturalist was convinced that at last the fabled...

Read More | Aug 27th 2017

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