Wednesday 13 October 2010

Copiapoa - a commemoration

Copiapoa humilis

The news coverage of the continuing rescue of the miners trapped in the San Jose mine near Copiapo in Chile reminds me that this area of the Atacama desert is home to the cactus genus Copiapoa. There are about 21 species, and numerous subspecific taxa of these clump-forming, barrel-shaped cacti, ranging in size from tiny to up to a metre or so, well-protected by masses of spines and often a dense wax layer to avoid desiccation. The yellow flowers are small and appear at the centre of the plant body (info from The New Cactus Lexicon, 2006, image by Stan Sheps, from Wikipedia).

1 comment:

  1. What an unusual colour, when I first saw the photo I thought the plant was dead!


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