These red cholla blooms will be published Easter morning which is apropos for symbolic reasons. It would be nice to say I planned it this way but it's either serendipity or coincidence-- take your pick. These blooms are particularly symbolic because they appear on a cactus that much of the year could seem to be dead. They are not really resurrected but they might seem to be so from what they appear to be most of the year. They are also blood red for the sacrifice both of Passover and Easter.
Although I have heard it called buckhorn, snake, or cane cholla, I realized as soon as I has going to write something that I had no idea what its rightful name is. I have some books on cactus and even there I wasn't sure of its proper name. The branches look like big stickery canes most of the year-- until the season to be propagated and then beautiful red flowers from orangish to bluish red appear. Since it evidently cross-pollinates with other chollas, it varies quite a bit for what its colors or shape will be. There is one that looks much the same with yellow to orange blooms.
The intensity of these reds, the beauty of the shapes, all make me feel like the little insects that fly from bloom to bloom bathing in their pollen. It is their season and the beauty is beyond words to describe when you take time to study each perfect flower.
My goal was to find some fully open. When I did, I realized that it is when they open fully that they begin to fade, turn almost paper-like in their appearance. The full blossom is the last of that flower's bloom.
It would be interesting to have a camera set to photograph one every few hours to get a time lapse of the process. Here is one as it first begins to open.
This is the season these chollas seem to be born again in the need to find a way to continue their kind. It is not just Christianity that teaches of a rebirth being a necessary part of life.
Did you know that Easter comes from Judeo-Christian roots but also is near the time of an important pagan celebration? Christ was crucified during the Passover both expressing the need for a blood sacrifice. The name Easter derives from possibly the Babylonian goddess Ishtar or in Celtic mythology as Oestre or Easter. There is through this fertility goddess the connection to rabbits.
Have you wondered why Christian Easter is celebrated when it is? Shouldn't it be connected to Passover which it is sometimes coincidentally but only consistently in the Greek Orthodox Church. For the rest of us, it will always be the first Sunday after first full moon after the Equinox. It's funny isn't it, how we have these pagan roots for many Christian celebrations but their source is denied. For more information, check out: Religious Tolerance
All photographs taken in Tucson Mountain Park west of Tucson, Arizona. Although we have these same varieties on our Tucson property, they will not bloom until we are back in Oregon.