Thursday, September 17, 2009

Notoriously Promiscuous

A guidebook calls the Prickly Pear Cactus "notoriously promiscuous" because it often accepts pollen from species other than its own.   Flowers resulting from this promiscuity around Jerome, AZ, are colorfull and account for the yellow/red blossoms seen across Arizona in the Spring.

Note the insect at the lower left of the cactus flower...it's there feeding, watching, waiting for an encounter...just part of the diverse menagerie that keeps company with these soiled cactus doves of the desert. 

This environment doesn't take many chances, however...perhaps if the flower isn't fertilized notice the bud ready to open and start the process all over again.
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