Cactus or Street Sign?

This unusual cactus made me smile. With arms pointing horizontally north, south, east, west and a few other ways in between, I expected to see place names and distances written. ” It might say, “Miami – 103 miles,” or “Key West – 90 miles,” and “Cancun – 468 miles.”

Cactus at Naples Botanical Garden that resembles a multidirectional street sign. In fact, it is a rare Florida Semaphore cactus, because it resembles the semaphore signals of a railroad crossing.

I guess I’m more accustomed to cacti of other shapes like the saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert or the Cholla “Teddy Bear” Cactus of the high desert in Joshua Tree National Park. Perhaps you know the prickly pear cactus or the barrel cactus from your hikes in the Southwest United States. Say hello to the Florida Semaphore Cactus, or the Consolea Corallicola.

Luminous Cactus Flowers

As we take a close look at this blooming cactus, we first notice the spikes and the complimentary colors of the red flowers emerging from the green cactus body. The sunlight and shallow depth of field give us excellent clarity.

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A close look at the sunlit blooms on the cactus. Those spikes look sharp!

But then we notice the delicate spider web illuminated by the sun. Where is the spider, who lives in symbiosis with the cactus, not at all discouraged by the sharp spikes?