Vallarta Botanical Gardens has orchids, chocolate, and vanilla to enjoy, but it also has a painful side. Pointy cactus spines and sharp yucca leaves abound. Bougainvillea flowers crown vines with large, nasty thorns. No matter how beautiful, they can puncture and pierce. The gardens are perfectly safe, as long as you stay on paths and pay attention. However, with my camera distracting me, I usually manage to stumble into something prickly.

Cactus at Vallarta Botanical GardensPrickly pear cactusThorny bougainvillea

Of course, these desert growers are just defending themselves in the hot, arid climate. Thorny plants may not have the opulence of orchids, but their barbed exteriors can’t hide their beauty. They endure the Mexican heat that slows me down, even with a water bottle by my side. Yet, that doesn’t matter much when the saw-edged leaves of a Blue Agave scratch my arm. At least the cut provides a medicinal excuse to drink the agave’s tequila.

Blue agave at Vallarta Botanical GardensThorny succulent at Vallarta Botanical GardensYucca

Many of these are great choices for gardeners in desert and semidesert areas who don’t mind pointed plants. If it’s tough for you to provide high humidity for orchids, plant succulents and cactus instead. For example, try growing this tree with prickly bark, which looks like an invention of the Spanish Inquisition. Floss Silk Trees are native to South America, and related to Africa’s fascinating Baobab trees. I’ll stick with orchids, thank you, and save on the bandages.

Prickly trunk of a Floss Silk Tree at Vallarta Botanical GardensPrickly trunk of a Floss Silk Tree at Vallarta Botanical GardensSucculent at Vallarta Botanical Gardens

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7 Comments on “Ouch!”

  1. soyung Says:

    what a freaky tree! the floss silk tree looks like something out of my nightmere.

  2. nancy Says:

    This is a very pointed blog post. Get it? Pointed? 😉

    I don’t need a reason to drink Tequila but I’m glad you found one for yourself.

  3. Quan P. Says:

    hopefully this comment doesn’t appear multiple times (it appears to freeze once i try to post my comment.. not certain if it’s actually posting), but all I really wanted to say was great post and thanks for sharing.

  4. Teresa Says:

    I found here something new and interesting. Thanks

  5. ZelfS Says:

    Very good post.

  6. Patricia Carden Says:

    Cactus flowers are amazingly beautiful. It’s a shame you didn’t get some pictures of them too. For me the flowers make up for the pain of an (occasional) sharp poke! Thanks for your post.

  7. Jamex Says:

    Really good post!