Cactus in Oaxaca – More from the Ethnobotanical Garden

3 Aug


Peresquia lichindiflora

Arbol de Matrimonia

A thrill to see first hand, this tree is the ancestor of cactus. It still retains its leaves, in addition to the thorns characteristic of cactus. Its common Mexican name, marriage tree, refers to its spines. The cactus later evolved into a leafless plant, in order to conserve water in the desert.


Biznaga Cactus


This biznaga cactus is 9 or 10 feet tall. The plant is endemic to Mexico, meaning it grows only here. This particular plant is estimated to be about 1,000 years old, and was rescued from the route of the Oaxaca-Mexico highway. Each spine had to be individually cushioned with newspaper so that the workers wouldn’t be injured when transplanting the biznaga.. Biznagas are eaten by humans and other animals. The species is in danger of extinction.


Organ Cactus


Organ cactus is used as a living fence between houses in Mexican villages. It has spines when it’s little, but loses them later. The largest cactuses in this picture are around 15’ tall. Diego Rivera had organ cactus at his home in Mexico City.




Another beautiful cactus from the Ethnobotanical Garden. I didn’t get the name of this variety.


Elephant Foot

Pato de Elefante

I don’t have any info about this plant.  I think maybe it’s a cactus.  Anyway I love it.


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