Barrel cactus flowers, Ferocactus cylindraceus.

In this 2007 photograph from Desemboque on the Sea of Cortez, Raquel Hofer and her aunt, who wields the shovel, are burning off the spines from a different species of barrel cactus (Ferocactus wislizenii) than the one pictured above in Anza Borrego. After the spines are burned off, the two Seri/Comca’ac women will hollow out the interior and use the barrel cactus to hold a delicious wine made from fermented pitahayas, the cardon cactus fruits, for a ceremony in early July.

My collaborator, Rose Ramirez, took this photo of barrel cactus buds at the Malki Museum. In Temalpakh, Cahuilla elder Katherine Siva Saubel writes that her family canned over one hundred quarts of barrel cactus buds after one spring harvest.

Cholla cactus flower.

Hedgehog cactus flower, Echinocereus engelmannii. All at the Anza Borrego Desert State Park Visitor Center, which is somewhat protected from the fierce winds when I visited on Thursday.

Besides the barrel, cholla, and hedgehog cacti in bloom, there were many other desert beauties, including the pink fairy duster, Calliandra eriophylla.

Brittlebush, Encilia farinosa.

Desert sand verbena, Abronia villosa, photographed on the outskirts of Borrego Springs.

Posted by deborah small


  1. It’s wonderful to see those 2 women continuing their people’s traditions.

    This is a great blog. kudos.



  2. Seeing a decades old wild ferocactus burned so these idiots who want but do not need can have a vessel for holding wine is sickening
    its needed culturally?
    maybe use an endangered desert tortoise shell?
    I am sure they replanted another to take its place…probably not
    did this occur in the park?
    pathetic unnecessary selfish bizarre



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