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It Takes All Kinds To Make A World – the Nipple Cactus

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Nipple Cactus at Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

Nipple cactus

While at the Ladybird Johnson’s Wildflower Center near Austin, Texas last weekend I saw this native – and very drought tolerant – prickly cactus.

Turns out the Mammillaria and Coryphantha genus’ are native to southern Texas and Mexico and are a large genus of cactus. Their bodies do not have ribs, but instead have tubercles, which gives it the unique look of a woman’s breast with a nipple.

While taking this photo it occurred to me that there is a very large number of plants that resemble and are named after human body parts. Is it human self-absorption or merely the obvious that leads us to nomenclature?

Personally, I would like to think that Linnaeus had a sense of humor – kinda like mine – he thought the little nipple cactus’s were cute and could not resist having a little fun.

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