March 8, 2019
GALÁPA-GOSH – PT. 4: THE CACTUS TREES OF SANTA CRUZ.
Another day, another Galápagos island. Next up – Santa Cruz Island – here. We were driven literally from its top to bottom (on a road some 40km long). No swimming with the turtles on this day, but of course that didn’t mean there’d be no Ecuad-awesomeness – the main one of which was the fact that… cactuses can resemble trees!
Now, remember the last pic in yesterday’s post? The one with a tree trunk that looked to be of a pine or fir tree? Well it’s actually a cactus known as an opuntia, aka prickly bear! No, not one of those small cactuses with the silly ears that you know to be a cactus. Here cactuses are verrrrry big, verrrrry strangely shaped, verrrrry unusual – and with trunks!
Woah – a cactus grove:
What’s curious is that the age of cactuses is practically impossible to determine: they don’t have rings inside their trunks as trees do. However, there are a few indicators that can indicate if a cactus is a mere teenager or a fully-grown adult. For example: on the trunk of a cactus there are segments, and the older the cactus – the less visible they are.
The ‘leaves’, btw – or whatever you call those fat green prickly things – grow bigger and fatter and bigger still and sometimes become the trunk of the cactus.
Each segment of a tree takes around eight or twelve years to grow. As you can see in some of the above pics – there can be a dozen segments. Then add the number of years it’s taken for all those leaves to grow and… wait – that’s surely getting on for a century, no?!
Marvelous constructions. Ecuad-awesome constructions…
All the pics from Ecuad-awe are here.