Many cactus species create orange flowers. Besides cosmetic uses, the flowers play significant roles in their ecosystems and have culinary uses for humans. Some kinds of cacti that may grow orange flowers consist of prickly pear, barrel cactus, organ pipe cactus and Christmas cactus. The striking blossom color together with fine blossom fragrances help attract pollinators, such as bees and bats.
Cactus Flowers Are Edible
A lot of men and women realize that cactus fruits, such as prickly pear, are edible or useful for making beverages. They are fairly common in Mexican and Central American cooking. Fewer people know that cactus flowers are often creamy too. For example, Native Americans boiled young barrel cactus flowers to consume like cabbage. They also boiled old barrel cactus flowers to make into a beverage. Barrel cactus flowers come in many different colours, such as yellow, orange and red.
Cactus Flower Structure Facts
Flowers are reproductive structures for cacti, succulents and many other types of plants. Sepals and petals safeguard the inner areas of the blossom and manual pollinators, such as bees, toward the inside of the blossom. The flowers have male and female parts. Anthers are male parts that contain pollen, and stigmas are the sections of the female pistils that get the pollen. After the stigma receives pollen, the basal region of the pistil produces seeds. Some cacti flowers blossom throughout the afternoon, while some — such as the organ pipe cactus — blossom during the night.
Cactus Flowers Make Tasty Wine
Wine Maker Magazine recommends using prickly pear flowers — that is orange, yellow, red or pink to make wine. A recipe for cactus blossom wine contains sugar, cactus flowers, white grape juice, water, grape tannin and yeast, among other ingredients. Cactus flowers often have bees inside of these, therefore gardeners should be careful harvesting the flowers.
Bats Feed on Night-Blooming Cacti
Night-blooming organ pipe cacti and saguaro cacti have orange or yellow flowers that open at night. As these and other kinds of cacti begin to bloom each year, lesser long-nosed bats migrate from Central Mexico to Northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. The bats fly from blossom to blossom, feeding on the flower nectar. They get pollen on themselves and pollinate the cactus flowers as they fly around feeding. Later in the summer, the bats will eat the cactus fruit and deposit the seeds. They play a significant role in cactus reproduction, in the same way the cacti flowers play a main role in the diet of their bats.