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Cacti: Writing a Book Together:

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This article is a part of Cultivar's projest: Cacti - Writing a Book Together
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Cacti in the nature

Alexandr Urban

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If the European cacti fan happened to meet with the cactus in the nature of their homeland, and he would have described the impression from this meeting is certainly a beauty led him to delight and intoxication. But beauty is relative, and his description, it might be biased, reinforced their own passion.

So let about his impressions of meetings with the cactus in nature interpretation better not a cacti fan. Give an excerpt from the description of travel Zdenek Muller "In the mountains of Ecuador", in which the author describes the nature of South America near the equator, and gives us an opportunity to look at the places where civilization has not yet destroyed the virgin state of the vegetation of the succulent plants.

"... At dawn the next day, we have once again on the legs, refreshing rest and placed their belongings. Paeon quickly saddled the horses that night in the surrounding rocks are not too rest. Rather further away from here! Descend on the path on the slope becomes steeper. Around us on the slopes of the mountains is a thick morning fog, so that except for immediate, dewy, thickets of bushes on the sides of the road, nothing is visible. However, below this mist turns into a floating broken blankets, so that I can with great interest to examine the panorama of the entire neighborhood. When descending on the western slopes are sensitive to these changes from a cold climate to warm, and dry, while dramatically changing vegetation.

A very long time we have to dodge narrow trail along the majestic walls, forming a high, one above the other terraces. They are actually a single huge cacti garden, or better, primeval natural reserve of countless species of local succulent plants. Although I never "sick" for the cacti and, incidentally, has never particularly interested in this than in most prickly family, but here, in a random wandering the slopes of the Andes, in the silence and the sun shining, I am beginning to understand their beauty and to recognize and prickly cacti are beautiful. At some places, I expressly terrify the beauty of so many different variations in one mixture, and especially can not stop to admire the exquisite taste of Mother Nature, in which there are distinct groups of natural exotic mountain plants (Alpine). Here, among the rocks dominated by powerful treelike bushes various Cereus, straggling prickly pear, and immediately a number of closely adjacent sites on the rocks creep and form a motley group, and even entire carpets lower types of cacti, are often quite small.

Throw me a very materialistic thought, what would be the same material cost of this vast and wonderful creations there, somewhere in distant Europe, where many cacti fans. And everywhere around us, in vast plains, where we just go, a similar picture. And on the stones, and on nearby slopes can be seen in abundance this succulent vegetation and delicate flowers of different colors.

What would say is probably about the unguarded park lovers of exotic plants? Many of our cheerful gardeners, who just worry over the construction of rock garden in his garden, I wanted to see at least a small fragment all this grandeur here that they saw the rock garden should look like ...".

This brief and superficial description of some Ecuadorian Valley does not give us a complete picture of the Succulent flora of the place, but allows us to guess about its magnificence. But even if the description of the local vegetation was very detailed, and so it would be dealt with only very minor part of the territory of one of the smallest South American countries.

These valleys and hills slope, overgrown countless types of cacti, in Ecuador, many of them. And how many of them throughout the South, Central and North America! Each plot area is not touched by cultivation - is a botanical garden and each is other!

Botany, however, succeeded as a classifying these species at least on paper, but mysterious, beautiful and exciting of the vast magnificent collection, which is a continent, can not cover any botanical designations.

* * *

For the inhabitants of this country cactus - not just an ordinary plant, but also a matter of course, as is the local life. In the fields, often several times larger than our country, life, from insects, birds and other animals up to man, largely due to its presence. In an environment where the grass or low vegetation replaces carpet like bush growing most stunted types of cacti, shrubs are branching medium high and prickly pear, finally, the trees correspond candelabrum loke high Cereus, there is not that the eyes would be the main people showed their feature striking. Similarly, their value can not be understood in the conventional norms of European cultivated plants or to judge its usefulness for their fruit.

Where almost no other vegetation, their presence is invaluable. Just as modest, the vegetation, respectively, are low and demands it from the rest, as it enables even a modest, but still living. Because there, on the edge of the desert, where for the last cactus extends only dry and dead sea of hot sand and stone, where the act ends with the eternal law of living nature, written in blood over the weak - those who are - there measuring the usefulness of these plants also bear, as well as somewhere far beyond the Arctic Circle, where on the border of eternal life represented by ice mosses and lichens.

Cacti represent almost the only food animals, from the smallest insects and pests to birds and mammals. At the same time, they provide protection for animals and birds that nest in their scratchy crowns, and finally, provide an opportunity of life and humans in this region. In terms of human life they are very valuable in this situation. Pet food offer in part, a man - a construction material for shelter, fuel and valuable fruit for delicious food. They are the best live fences and helping people to save hard-purchased, taken out of the nature of the orchards and fields, and even - if necessary - give him and intoxicating beverages.

Is no doubt that in the fabulous mountain valleys of Ecuador, or the Bolivian Altiplano plateau in the same way as in the majestic slopes of the Chilean Andes, in Colorado devoted ravines and Arizona, or in the endless Argentine Pampa life inhale it cacti.

The romantic beauty of this exotic country is breathing, but a sadness and resignation of poverty, but through no fault of cacti.

Cool calm of dead Mongolian deserts, hellish heat of the Sahara or the monotony of killing two-thirds of Australia, a thousand times worse. They do not breathe, even poverty, and sorrow, there only death. Cacti do not grow there.


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