USA/TX: Cacti of the Big Bend National Park

Big Bend is a cactus-lover’s paradise. While there are no massive saguaros or barrel cacti here, the sheer species diversity is amazing – 65 different species! This diversity is a result of the park’s location and different ecosystems with various elevation, geology, precipitation, soils, etc. Come here in April and you will find many species in bloom with spectacular flowers. One of the most bizarre cacti was the Living Rock Cactus (Ariocarpus fissuratus) – almost an agave-like tiny plant sticking close to the ground. There are red-flowered Claretcup Cactus and  Strawberry Pittaya, with bright purple and red flowers. There are 16 species of Opuntsia aka Cholla and Prickly Pear cacti. One of my favorites was the TExas Rainbo Cactus (Echinocereus dasyacanthus) with massive stunningly-bright yellow flowers.