As I collected rocks uphill this morning, I saw a tiny Beehive Cactus known as New Mexico Spinystar Cactus. Odd name, vivipara… para vivir… means “in order to live” but vivir para might also mean “to live in order to” in Spanish. I would call it as a survival food. I imagine it tastes good.
But it is tiny and well armed. By tiny, this is maybe an inch tall.
At 4x magnification, you can see its tiny companion just to the right of the tip of that 1 inch giant. I put a circle of stones around them so I can find them again and not step on them while hauling rock down from the area.
The Beehive Cacti are widespread and common in the central part of the US, with 6 known variants over their range. Archeologists found evidence that they existed 13,000 years ago. As tiny as mine are, they grow up to 5 inches tall and can be in groups up to 200. Maybe I will find more. They bloom is usually pink, with yellow or green blooms being rare and some are striped. The fruit is edible as is the stem. They are safe from me, unless I find some larger ones with fruit. Even so I would rather they multiply.
I try not to stomp on any plant uphill, but New Mexico Spinystar would make you regret it in a personal way. For all that cacti are well armed with spines they are less inclined to chemical warfare against their enemies. Once you get past cacti weapons you generally get life restoring moisture and nutrition.
I transplanted another Elderberry back into the Pinyon-Juniper cover. I found another healthy batch of weeds, dug down and found moisture. I put the Elderberry there and watered it in.
I am finding Prickly Pear with fruit developing. Missed the blooms. Not all of them, but some. This Pinyon-Juniper food forest is home to many species, including New Mexico Spinystar Cacti, all contribute.