Ask a Question forum: Inside a barrel cactus

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LanJunKai
Jun 25, 2017 9:35 AM CST
What does the inside of a barrel cactus look like when it is 1) alive and 2) after it dies from lack of water? If one does die, does the appearance of the outside change?
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jun 25, 2017 9:47 AM CST
I have not taken a knife to one but I would imagine they are mostly succulent tissue inside (for water storage). When they die they dry out and hollow out on the inside, leaving a sort of husk or shell left with the skin and the spines. The outside turns brown (pretty much the whole thing except maybe a few spines). Why do you ask?
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jun 25, 2017 9:48 AM (+)]
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Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 25, 2017 9:50 AM CST
Did you cut yours in half? The tissue inside should be green. If there is any rot, it will be brown.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: Liz Shaw
Gilbert, AZ (Sunset Zone 13) (Zone 9a)
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LizDTM
Jun 25, 2017 3:22 PM CST
I can tell you from sad experience that a barrel cactus is almost entirely water. When it collapses, there are no ribs like there are in a saguaro or even a San Pedro. It literally deflates like a balloon. I've let one decompose a bit in my side yard and then cut it open. No internal structure whatsoever. Truly weird. Now, I should tell you that I had were Arizona barrels, not golden barrels. Don't know if those are different.
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. -Anaïs Nin
Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jun 25, 2017 6:00 PM CST
My former neighbors had a golden barrel in a large pot...same results...just a pile of thorns and skin.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 25, 2017 6:03 PM CST
Do you remember those old cowboy movies where the hero saves the day (and the beautiful girl) by lopping the top off a barrel cactus and ladling the water out?

(edited to correct typo. I HATE typos!)
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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[Last edited by DaisyI - Jun 25, 2017 8:48 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
Charter ATP Member Hummingbirder Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Orchids Region: California Plant Identifier
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ctcarol
Jun 25, 2017 6:04 PM CST
I must have missed the movie, but read the book. Rolling on the floor laughing
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
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DaisyI
Jun 25, 2017 8:47 PM CST
I always wondered what flavor cactus were until a friend's mother made nopales for dinner. Yuk! I am Never going to drink from one of those cactus. I'll wait for the lemonade flavored one, thank you.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
MD
LanJunKai
Jun 26, 2017 6:16 AM CST
Thank you, all, for your replies. A barrel cactus once dropped from a window and cracked open. The inside was hollow, and I figured it had died from lack of water. Your answers seem to confirm that fact!

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