Melon cactus

Melon cactus

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Credit: NATURE'S IMAGES, INC. /SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Melon cactus, Melocactus intortus, Gu nica tropical dry forest, Puerto Rico. Melocactus are peculiar in developing at maturity a specialized, cylindrical reproductive structure called a cephalium that produces the flowers that are followed by edible, red, berry-like fruit. In this specimens a few fruit have fallen from the cepalium and become stuck on the spines. This species can be found on the Bahamas and many west Indies islands, including Puerto Rico, Antigua, Dominica and the Virgin Islands. Melocactus were among the very first cactus seen by European explorers and were originally placed by Linnaeus in the genus Cactus.

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Keywords: cactacea, cactus, caribbean cactus, cephalium, dry forest, gu nica, melocactus intortus, melon cactus, puerto rico, spiny, tropical dry forest, xeric species

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