Saturday, May 24, 2008

Just Plain Bizarre!

I was walking my pooch, Biff, a couple of days ago, carrying my trusty camera in case something cool popped into view. I'm carrying it more and more these days, as I've just been asked to write a bi-weekly garden column for an amazingly fun local website. is hard to describe, but it perfectly suits Santa Barbara's Left Coast mindset. It features everything from contests to guess the average price of a turkey sandwich, to local news and links to photo galleries. 

Anyway, Biff and I happened by this one garden we've walked past a number of times. Nothing outstanding; in fact, it might be one of the "this is what not to do" examples I show my classes. But popping out the side of a vertical "organ pipe" type cactus was this bizarre flower. Right off the bat, the most primitive core of my brain saw a buzzard's head, waiting patiently for its next meal. It was right out of a Gary Larsen Far Side cartoon. 

On closer inspection, I noticed these odd structures that appeared to be a French Braid, like a bride might have done for that special event. 

I can write no more. If someone can tell me what's going on here, I'd love to be filled in. 

Bizarrest of Sundays to you. 


kate smudges said...

Now that is cool. I didn't see a buzzards head ... the French braid, yes. (Whenever there is a mystery about a cactus, I always think of Aiyana because she's a font of wisdom on cactus and succulents.

It looks like a flower unfurling in slow motion. I wish I came upon such sights on a walk with my dog!

Teresa said...

That is a truly unique and beautiful blossom. I too am waiting for Aiyana's comment as I am certain she will shed some light on the identity of this cactus.

No Rain said...

I think this cactus flower is just in its first stages of opening. It looks like it has a couple of days to go to fully open. You should check a a day or so. If not, then it could be a mutated flower that has been kept from opening by the over-developed outside green coverings. If you see it fully open, please post the results!
Happy Green Thumb Sunday.

Claude said...

Hello... I kind of stumbled upon your blog. That flower is a spent blossom... These are night-blooming flowers, and the next day the buds re-close.

have a great day...

Ewa said...

Picture is great and it seems to be a a flower :) as I understand from previous comments and this is what I think:)
I have visited a place where 360 kinds of rhododendrons are right in bloom - some pictures on my blog posted, so if you have a minute, stop by :)

dan said...

I found some great ideas for landscaping design and plant and tree information at

Anonymous said...

Very very cool, Billy. It certainly has a sculptural quality to it. I hope you'll be back to take another photo when it finishes unfurling its petals.