Colombia: Tatacoa Desert – Melocactus

ne of the unique cacti that grow in the Tatacoa Desert is the Melocactus curvispinus aka Turk’s Cap cactus. It’s quite bizarre looking – a round barrel with a bristle-coated structure on top called cephaleum, and the small flowers come out of here (this supposedly resembles a Turkish headwear, hence the name). Melocactus was actually one of the first species of cacti named by the father of the classification system, Karl Linnaeus, in 1753. There are about 40 species of this genus in the world, mostly in the Caribbean and central America as well as Colombia and Brazil. Here, in Tatacoa Desert, there were quite a few of them, all in bloom.