My Spiny Valentine

– Posted in: Succulents

Prickly pear cactus pads sometimes form hearts. I wonder what the plant is trying to tell us: “Be mine but don’t touch me?”


Cactus hearts

Purple heart

This last is a mammillaria. (You can call her Ma’am.) Here’s a  bit of trivia: I used to think that mammillaria got their name because they’re rounded like mammillary glands.


But no, it’s because they’re covered with bumps, and at the tip of each is an aureole from which spines emerge. So now you know. ;+)



 My goal is to share the beauty of waterwise, easy-care succulents in gardens, containers and landscapes via blog postsnewsletterspublic speaking and workshopsphotosvideosmerchandise, and social media (Facebook and Pinterest). My books: Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardensand Succulents Simplified. 

Debra Lee Baldwin
Award-winning garden photojournalist Debra Lee Baldwin authored Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified, all Timber Press bestsellers. Her goal is to enhance others' enjoyment and awareness of waterwise plants and gardens by showcasing the beauty and design potential of succulents via books, articles, newsletters, photos, videos, social media and more. Debra's YouTube channel has had over 3,000,000 views.
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin
Debra Lee Baldwin

Latest posts by Debra Lee Baldwin (see all)

4 Comments… add one

Leave a Comment

commonweeder February 6, 2014, 8:18 am

I always say a walk down the garden path takes us into many areas of study beyond botany. This doesn’t look like a loving plant, but the flowers are pretty – and it is amazingly hardy.

Mary Yee February 6, 2014, 12:48 pm

Thanks for these fabulous photos! I didn’t realize prickly pear pads came in so many colors (and I suppose even those change with the seasons).

Catherine February 6, 2014, 4:55 pm

Ah, I think it means that true love is not just ‘warts and all’, but spines and prickles too. When people give roses, they remove all the thorns, pretending that love is just about beauty. I’d rather have these ‘true love’ spiky hearts any day.

Candy Suter February 15, 2014, 12:44 am

I love trivia about succulents! Great post and super photos!

Next Post:

[shareaholic app=”recommendations” id=”13070491″]