Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 11, 2010

Pricklypear and ‘pillar

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 4:39 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The zenith, the ultimate, the pinnacle, the apogee of cactus blossoms

Helping out the guides at Desert Highlights, who had 29 teenaged boys on a rappel adventure this morning, I came across a pricklypear patch that outdid all others. The prickles were huge, the pads were oversized, and the blossoms were utterly magnificent. I gasped. There is nothing quite like it in the plant world. Negro Bill Canyon is full of great specimens, and it would have been just plain wrong to walk by such an ephemeral display without pausing to admire its beauty and thank its Creator.

If you know what kind it is, please comment!

In the parking lot upon returning, this green monster caterpillar surprised me. He was 4-5″ long and as thick as my baby finger. When I got close enough with my camera for a macro shot, he began flailing and writhing into C’s and reverse C’s, as if he were having a seizure. The locals told me that horn-lik e thing on his posterior end can inflict hurt, so I kept my distance was reasonable about not touching him, but I suspect that he was trying to repel me.


  1. Absolutely exquisite! How privileged you are to be there, and how lovely it is that we can vicariously share the beauty.

    Comment by Mom — June 11, 2010 @ 9:34 pm | Reply

  2. Do all caterpillars metamorphose into flying critters?
    If so, this one might have fangs . . .

    Comment by leroque — June 12, 2010 @ 6:22 am | Reply

  3. if memory serves me correctly, it is of the genus “greenus humungo”. i do believe it is a great northern cecropianarch!

    Comment by john — June 12, 2010 @ 7:19 am | Reply

  4. if memory serves me correctly, it is of the genus “greenus humungo”. i do believe it is a great northern cecropianarch!

    Yellow Caterpillar on Creosote Bushes – White lined Sphinx moth – Hiles lineata

    Comment by john — June 12, 2010 @ 7:25 am | Reply

    • Thanks for the Google Images! It is a White-Lined Sphinx Moth for sure! Prettier in its flying form than in its crawling form.

      Comment by kath56ryn — June 13, 2010 @ 12:44 pm | Reply

  5. Oh my…oh my, oh my, oh MY!!!! What an exquisite flower!!! I guess since you’re out in the boonies now, Scrabble moves may be few and far between 😦

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — June 12, 2010 @ 9:12 pm | Reply

    • Just for another week, K — my housemate is getting internet! And, YES, this flower is exquisite beyond all others out here. It is pure Wow. Thanks for the oohs and ahhs!

      Comment by kath56ryn — June 12, 2010 @ 11:31 pm | Reply

  6. There is a line that I thought was from the Rubaiyat but turns out to be from Gray’s Elegy . . . ‘Full many a flower is born to bloom unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air.’ – but not this one . . . ;-?

    Comment by leroque — June 13, 2010 @ 3:49 am | Reply

    • That is powerful, Dad. Thank you.

      Comment by kath56ryn — June 13, 2010 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

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