All posts tagged as desert

17 Feb

If It Looks Like a Cactus, It May Not Be One

In Environmental Learning by admin / February 17, 2010 / 0 Comments
Photo of Succulents - No Cactus Here!

Photo of Succulents – No Cactus Here!

Written by Daiv Freeman, a friend and cactus expert.

It is said all that glitters is not gold. It can also be said that all
that’s sharp is not a cactus. These statements seem obvious, but we can take it one step further and say that all plants that are succulent and covered in thorns or prickles are not all cactus either. After all, we know that rose bushes have prickles, but we don’t confuse them for cactus.. Even so, there are many plants that get mistakenly referred to as cactus plants that are just as distant from a true cactus as is a rose bush.

This article will  examine the common factors which lead to this error, and discuss the unique features of cactus that will help us avoid errors. As mentioned above, every “spiky” plant is not a cactus. In my experience, there are two other main factors, in addition to the presence of spines or thorns which lead to this mistaken identity.

One factor is succulence – meaning plants with thickened stem or leaf tissue used for storing water. The other has to do with the plant’s location, specifically those that live in a desert setting. Of these three factors – “spikes”, succulence, and habitat -succulence contributes to the most misidentification, followed by “spikes”, and finally desert habitat. When any of  these factors are combined, such as both succulent and living in the desert – or even all three factors – then the chances that a plant will be considered a “cactus” increases dramatically!

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30 Jul

Desert Dessert

In Portfolio,Sculptures by admin / July 30, 2009 / 0 Comments

artistspaletteThese sculpted bookends depict the mountains found in Death Valley, called Artist’s Palette. While hiking through the foothills there, I was taken in by them because of their colors, but the real thing that got my attention was the top of the mountains, which appeared to be covered with chocolate sprinkles. To top it off,  the mountains looked like a multi-flavored ice cream sundae. Maybe I’d been out hiking too long without lunch, but I named this sculpture Desert Dessert.

When I returned home from this trip, I couldn’t get the funky mountains out of my mind, and I just had to start sculpting them. The range’s official title is Artist’s Palette, and they are in the foothills of the Black Mountains. They are noted for having various colors of rock,  much like those found in the famous Painted Desert in Arizona. The color variations are caused by the oxidation of different metals such as red, pink and yellow (from the iron salts);  green from mica, while manganese produces the purple. Apparently a great deal of volcanic activity occurred here, which is why the mountain caps are sprinkled in black!


If you are interested in an estimate for creating a reproduction of this sculpture by hand  please contact me.