We have always tried to get out to hike and picnic in wild places around us here in Cochise County, Arizona. I still go out by myself to botanize and gather seed or cuttings, but not as much as I used to and now it seems more important than ever in these unsettling times to do stuff together. We may start the trip jabbering about the pandemic, but the moment we get into the hills our conversations become about plants, animals and terrain. Our sentences are filled with exclamations, “Oh my gosh, look at that!”, “That is so beautiful!”, “Wow!” That’s the way it’s supposed to be, isn’t it? So every week we get out.
I first learned about Arizona rainbow cactus, Echinocereus rigidissimus, in a wonderful book called The Cacti of Arizona by Lyman Benson. Taxonomically it’s a little outdated, but if you can find a copy you should nab it. Then you also need a copy of Field Guide to Cacti & other Succulents of Arizona published by the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society. That will help you be taxonomically up to date and it’s full of great descriptions and photos. Look for the second edition.
The photos are mine. I hope to share some flowering rainbow cactus photos soon. Oh, we’re going back and even if we miss the bloom there is always something to see when you get out. The borderlands are beautiful…yeah they are.