Pediocactus simpsonii (2013)

By Chris Deem (March 2013)

It is strangely quiet. The pink-streaked sky and golden rays of dawn will arouse no hope of spring on this chilly March morning. A strange metallic-green moss still grows on the shaded bark of a tall fir tree nearby. Tender buds cover a lone, thin shrub.

The brisk morning air is rich with the fragrance of pine, yet it is strangely quiet. All around, the surface of the rocky soil is still cold. It is covered with leaf litter and scattered pine needles.

Spiny and round, a few scattered clusters and several solitary pediocactus poke up through the crisp dry leaves. Although they will not bloom for a month or two, they give a green flush of life to the hard, cold ground. Still, every bird is silent. No cougar is seen, nor is there a bear. Only large, biped footprints remain, and the scent of something wild.

Here we have a rather interesting, cold-hardy cacti species from the United States. As soon as I saw a picture of one, I wanted it. If you feel the same way, I give you a warning. Cold-hardy they may be, but this species is supposed to be quite sensitive to excessive heat and especially sensitive to high humidity, such as found here in summer. Still, I may put this information to a test.

Pediocactus simpsonii are found in many unexpected places. They are found in the Rocky Mountains and along game trails in pristine woodlands, where people seldom go.