Posted by: ktzefr | July 17, 2012

Prickly Pix

The first time I recall seeing a cactus growing in the tropics was at Waimea Canyon on the island of Kauai in the Hawaiian Islands.  That was more than thirty years ago.  This was also probably the first time I saw a cactus that wasn’t growing in a pot.  I had always thought of cacti in relation to the desert rather than the rainforested tropics.

Here are a few of my prickly pix from various places.

Barrel Cacti cling to life amongst the rocks in the Virgin Islands.  This was taken at White Beach on Peter Island in the British Virgins.

Barrel Cactus, White Beach, Peter Island, BVI; Photo:KFawcett

Skinny cacti grow in clusters along the hillsides, but they don’t get much notice with a view like this in the distance.

Deadman’s Chest and the Island of Tortola, BVI from Peter Island; Photo:KFawcett

The nature preserve and botanical gardens of El Charco del Ingenio in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico has great views of the city, good hiking trails along a high canyon ridge, and LOTS of cacti.

Cactus, El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

I was lucky to be at the botanical gardens when many of the cacti were flowering.

Cacti, El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

Cacti, El Charco del Ingenio, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico; Photo:KFawcett

These (below) are the smallest of the cacti in the Galapagos Islands.  The lava cacti are found exclusively on barren lava fields.  They’re one of the first plants to colonize a fresh lava flow.  The yellowish stems and spines are the youngest.  They gradually turn gray to black with age.  These were not flowering at the time, but they do have rather large creamy white flowers that open before dawn and shrivel within a few hours.  This picture was taken on uninhabited Isla Genovesa in the Galapagos.

Lava Cacti, Isla Genovesa, Galapagos Islands; Photo:DFawcett


One of my favorite green, green spots in the tropics where blooming plants are profuse also has cacti growing wild along the hillsides and the rocky outcroppings at the edge of beaches.  Here they seem to be waving to the pretty St. John sunset.  

US Virgin Islands National Park, St. John; Photo:KFawcett




  1. Great shots of an unappreciated subject. Love the barrel cactus.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Bill. There are so many interesting cacti and I like the idea that they are something you can photograph but not touch (for the most part).

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