Opuntia macrorhiza

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IMG_2781_Opuntia_macrorhiza_600.jpg

Vestigial leaves on Opuntia macrorhiza – plains prickly pear cactus. The leaves are the spikes that stick out of the central, greenest pad. Identification and tutelage courtesy of Ronald Wittmann, coauthor of Colorado Flora. Mr. Wittmann adds, “Opuntia leaves are deciduous. They persist for a few weeks then drop. … O. macrorhiza is the most common species on the eastern plains of Colorado and certainly deserves mention [in the Wikipedia article on Opuntia]. O. ficus-indica is cultivated for its fruits in warm climates throughout the world.”

11 Comments

But it’s theology to ask why something so unexpected from design occurs in life.

Because, um, the aliens who may be the designers no doubt have religious reasons for doing so.

Yeah, that’s it.

Glen Davidson

Opuntias have two types of spines - the large ones visible in the picture and at the base of each spine a clump of glochids - invisibly small and bothersome. Some opuntias known as “bunny ears” have only white or orange glochids with no overt spines - they look somewhat velvety and tempt one to pet the cactus, which is a bad idea, almost bad as petting a Teddy Bear Cholla.

There’s a cactus next to the parking lot where I live (might or might not be same kind as shown here). A few years ago something took several bites out of it, spines be darned. The bites were maybe 2 or 3 inches across, and were on the upper sections of the thing. It seems to have recovered, though.

Henry

I’m growing a similar species in gravelly soil in Vermont. Great display of large yellow flowers in summer, with stamens that fold in towards the pistil in response to touch. Fruit is mostly seeds surrounded by magenta mucilage. Plant shrivels and slumps to the ground as the weather turns cold in the fall, then re-inflates and stands up again in the spring. Wear a pair of rubber gloves when weeding around them - the glochids take minor surgery to remove.

As a product of schooling in Queensland, Australia I have to mention its relative Opuntia stricta.

Introduced to Queensland and New South Wales and became the most noxious weed in the 1920s. Infested around 60 million acres making them useless for grazing. At its height it was expanding at about one million acres a year.

Best treatement was arsenic pentoxide, nasty stuff. Large bounties placed on native fauna that ate and spread the seeds.

Government sponsored scientists went looking for a biological solution and found the cactoblastis moth. It was spectacularly successful. Within about 5 years its introduction saw about 20 million acres reclaimed and it continued from there. Now it is hard to find Prickly Pear in Queensland.

Cute silent film from the 20’s showing Aussie scientists hard at work.

http://aso.gov.au/titles/newsreels/[…]ickly/clip1/

corbsj said:

As a product of schooling in Queensland, Australia I have to mention its relative Opuntia stricta.

Introduced to Queensland and New South Wales and became the most noxious weed in the 1920s. Infested around 60 million acres making them useless for grazing. At its height it was expanding at about one million acres a year.

Best treatement was arsenic pentoxide, nasty stuff. Large bounties placed on native fauna that ate and spread the seeds.

Government sponsored scientists went looking for a biological solution and found the cactoblastis moth. It was spectacularly successful. Within about 5 years its introduction saw about 20 million acres reclaimed and it continued from there. Now it is hard to find Prickly Pear in Queensland.

Cute silent film from the 20’s showing Aussie scientists hard at work.

http://aso.gov.au/titles/newsreels/[…]ickly/clip1/

Is there any chance of a moth that is a predator for creationists? (Though thinking about it, we’ve already got Ken Ham.…)

Is there any chance of a moth that is a predator for creationists?

Like scientific facts?

Kevin B said:

Is there any chance of a moth that is a predator for creationists? (Though thinking about it, we’ve already got Ken Ham.…)

Yes sorry about that, Ham is to the USA, as the introduction of the cane toad to Australia. On a brighter note, he left here because no one would listen..

On a brighter note, he left here because no one would listen..

So if somebody there were to start listening, he’d go back?

Henry J said:

On a brighter note, he left here because no one would listen..

So if somebody there were to start listening, he’d go back?

Maybe, but I don’t think you could ever get enough people here to listen hard enough to build and maintain a Creation Museum.

corbsj said:

Maybe, but I don’t think you could ever get enough people here to listen hard enough to build and maintain a Creation Museum.

Well, nobody’s tried it on anything like that scale in Australia, and true, the creationist operations and Godbarns that we have here are far less noticeable. But on the other hand, on less than ten per cent of the population of the US, it’s hardly likely that it could be done anyway.

As I have previously remarked, Ken Ham’s adventures are the sure stigmata of a con artist. He has a vital message to impart - that evolution is godless and phony - and he feels a burning desire to educate the masses and persuade them of this. So does he go where the unbelievers are, for this purpose?

Why, no. Strangely enough, he goes to Kentucky. So he’s not going where the Gospel according to YECism is not heard. He’s going where the money is. Because that’s what Ken’s about, really.

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This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on May 21, 2012 12:00 PM.

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