In 2019, the USPS issued 10 new Forever stamps picturing different cacti in bloom. The species shown were Engelmann's prickly pear, fire crown, Texas rainbow, dahlia, scarlet hedgehog, hatchet, golden Tom Thumb, eagle's claw, glory of Texas, and silver ball. They are just a handful of the many cacti that produce beautiful flowers.
Generally, cacti are rather slow-growing plants. They can be started from seed, but usually will not reach adult size for several years. Even then, it takes even longer for the plant to reach maturity and begin to flower. One of the most well-known species, teh saguaro cactus, takes over 100 years to bloom. When a cactus does finally produce flowers, they last for only a day or two before dying off. While at their peak, cactus flowers are some of the most stunning and delicate of any other bloom.
Since cactus flowers are so short-lived, pollinators in their habitats have to be quick to get to the delicious nectar inside. Each cactus species is specially adapted to suit a particular animal that pollinates them. Some are large and white so that bats can easily locate adnd feed from them. Others grow deeper, making them a favorite stop for hummingbirds – some of these flowers will hide this tiny pollinator's entire body while it feeds! Thanks to these creatures, flowering cacti are able to keep producing fruit and seeds, which will make more plants and ensure their breathtaking flowers will be around for years to come.
Double-sided Booklet of 20 (10 designs)