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One of the most striking and beautiful of all the "barrel" cacti of the American Southwestern deserts, the claret cup cactus (also known regionally by many names such as the kingcup, queencup, hedgehog cactus, pitaya roja, etc.) has large, showy and brilliantly red flowers that attract and are pollinated by hummingbirds. Unlike most cacti, the flowers of the claret cup stay open at night. Some native American tribes who shared the same habitat would collect these cacti, burn off the sharp spines, and mash them into a pulp with some locally procured sweetener (honey?) and bake them into mini sweet cakes. This one was found and photographed on a beautiful spring day in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Northwestern Texas.
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One of the most striking and beautiful of all the "barrel" cacti of the American Southwestern deserts, the claret cup cactus (also known regionally by many names such as the kingcup, queencup, hedgehog cactus, pitaya roja, etc.) has large, showy and brilliantly red flowers that attract and are pollinated by hummingbirds. Unlike most cacti, the flowers of the claret cup stay open at night. Some native American tribes who shared the same habitat would collect these cacti, burn off the...
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