Crazy plant of the day is this: Pereskiopsis spathulata! Which, I’ll admit, looks like a fairly generic succulent, but the cool thing is this is actually a cactus. A cactus with leaves. Most cactus have of course lost their leaves to increase their ability to survive in extremely dry conditions and rely on their stem for photosynthesis, but the genus Pereskiopsis is a bit of living evolutionary history with photosynthetic leaves still intact.
Posted in honor of Garden Rant’s Halloween-related garden photo contest.
Pick me, Amy, pick me!!!
Now For The Scary Part
This little dude is the Florida Semaphore Cactus, native only to hardwood hammocks in the middle and lower Keys. According to the Center for Plant Conservation, “Opuntia corallicola may very well be the most endangered plant in the United States.” Only one wild population remains (eight individuals), plus a few sites of re-introduction. Loss of habit and an exotic cactus moth have contributed to the demise of this most personable of cacti.
Arbitrary travel tip: I snapped this photo during a recent visit to the fabulous Key West Tropical Forest & Botanical Garden. Please pay them a visit if you’re ever in the vicinity – they are doing so many great things, with so little $$$, as is the case for many small public gardens. And then head straight to Kelly’s on Whitehead Street for outstanding $3 margaritas…served in a pint glass!