Prickly Wiggly: 10 Spine-Tingling Cactus Warning Signs

Thorn Statement

Prickly Wiggly: 10 Spine-Tingling Cactus Warning Signs

There’s no “Ouch!” on this sign even though it’s also posted at Kitty Hawk: we (and you) should assume the “Ouch!” is implied should “Caution” be ignored. Also, are we to assume the sign’s warning about some solitary, rogue, mobile and aggressive cactus? If a single scary sentient “Cactus Jack” isn’t the problem, then “Beware Of Cacti” would be more correct both grammatically and factually. (image via nick chapman)

* Cool Cactus Fact: The tallest cactus ever recorded was an armless Saguaro cactus in Cave Creek, AZ, that stood 78 feet tall. The skyscraping cactus, estimated to have been about 150 years old, fell over during a windstorm in the summer of 1986. Hopefully it didn’t fall on anything (or anyone) WITH arms.

Look, Sharp!

Prickly Wiggly: 10 Spine-Tingling Cactus Warning Signs

The sun has long since set on the British Empire; the new dark age being devoid of knowledge of cacti. How else to explain the painfully PC warning sign above, snapped in Warley, UK? Speaking of which, are we afraid of body shaming cacti now? Is this what the world has come to? Spines, thorns and (gasp!) pricks are simply too pejorative and er, to the point for today’s crop of helicopter-parented snowflakes to process without being triggered. Note how even the sign’s text is infused with milquetoast ambiguity: “MAY have functional sharp edges”? Maybe you should touch it, just to be sure… (image via Tomas)

* Cool Cactus Fact: Cactus spines are actually highly evolved and specialized leaves – kinda like pine needles, but on steroids. Depending on the species of cactus, its spines could be straight, curved, needle-like, hooked, hair-like, or missing entirely in the case of peyote, notorious for its psychoactive properties.

Garden Of Evil

Prickly Wiggly: 10 Spine-Tingling Cactus Warning Signs

By all means “Enjoy that airport smile” at Singapore’s Changi Airport but as with most things, there’s a downside: dozens of thorny cacti just itching to bite the hand that waters them! Happy now? Luckily, helpful signs have been prominently placed within the airport’s expansive Cactus Garden. Otherwise, oblivious travelers not versed in all things cactus wouldn’t be able to turn those frowns back upside down. (image via BernieCB)

* Cool Cactus Fact: Think cacti are exclusive to hot and dry desert environments? Sorry, eh! Four cactus species are native to Canada, the land of busy beavers, angry geese and delicious maple syrup. One of these four species – the “Little Prickly Pear” (Opuntia fragilis) – is the most northerly of all cacti. It can be found at latitudes up to 56° north; north of some parts of Alaska. Sweet!

Child’s Play

Prickly Wiggly: 10 Spine-Tingling Cactus Warning Signs

It ain’t always easy being a kid, ‘specially if you’re growing up in Baja California. Childhood there comes with added hazards, such as spine-encrusted cacti intruding upon outdoor recreation areas. Imagine a giant open-air pinball machine with cacti for bumpers and kids as pinballs… yikes! Of somewhat lesser concern, it’s gotta be tough keeping a ball inflated. (image via de.ades)

* Cool Cactus Fact: Cacti might be “weird” plants but they most definitely ARE plants and as such, they propagate via flowers, fruit and seeds. Impatient gardeners should be aware (beware?), however, that most cacti grow very slowly. How slowly? Well, depending on the species it can take from 6 months to a year for a sprouted cactus to grow to roughly the size of a large marble.

Bark That Bites

Prickly Wiggly: 10 Spine-Tingling Cactus Warning Signs

An outhouse with cactus bark walls? Well, that’s one way to discourage graffiti and by the way, don’t even ask about the TP. Even worse, the text translates to “DANGER”, “Forbidden to light fire”, and “Danger of fire.” To sum up, this cactus-walled outhouse is ALSO a dangerous fire hazard, got it. Still, one thing overrides all others: when you’ve gotta go, you gotta GO! Just don’t light up a smoke afterwards. (image via Kent MacElwee)

Got a thing for rockin’ desert denizen designs? Check out Fish Rocks Of Trona: Folk Art On A Geologic Scale!