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Cactaceae, Ferocactus spp., Biznaga

December 13, 2009

Of the Baja Ferocactus species, I’m not sure which one this is, I think there actually a few different species in the photographs below.

The annual growth of cacti in this genus is measure centimeters, some species can grow quite massive, but it takes a long time.

All species of Ferocactus are called Biznaga by natives.

During periods of drought, when no other animal fodder is available, these cacti are cut down, split, doused in kerosene to burn the spines off and then chopped up and fed to livestock.

Young flowers can be cooked in water like cabbage, older flowers can be macerated and made into a drink. Fruits can be fried or stewed or eaten raw. The pulp of the stem can be chewed, typically as a survival food, for its food and water content. It is also used to make candy.

Indians will used Ferocactus species as cooking pots by cutting off the top, scooping out the pulp, and placing hot stones in the cavity with the food. The spines have been used to make awls, needles, or for tattooing.

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