Photos on the journey #481-Horse Crippler, Devil’s Head, Candy Cactus, Devil’s Pincushion, Manacaballo, Monco Caballo, Viznaga

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A cactus of many names, most of them negative sounding. But it produces a fruit that is attractive to deer, rabbits, and other small rodents. My dogs always go a little crazy trying to follow all the scent trails that lead from these lovely low-lying beauties.

The horse crippler cactus is broader than it is long. Normally it is 1–2 inches above the ground and up to 12 inches across. It is difficult to see, and many horses have been crippled from stepping on it. It usually has only 1 stem, occasionally 2 or 3. If injured at the tip, it may produce a cluster of small heads on top of the old one. The surface of the plant is dark green. It has about 14 spines at each areole, with a central spine that is longer and stronger than the others, 2– 3 inches long and straight to slightly-curved downward. The inverted bell-shaped flowers are 1– 2 3/4 inches across and about as tall. The outer petals are salmon-red, the inner ones salmon-pink with streaks of red. The edge of the petals has a feathery appearance. Anthers are pinkish to red, and the pistil is yellow to pink. The flower is somewhat fragrant.

Watch where you step! Peace@U ††† en theos ††† jlawrence