The Creeping Devil Cactus - Cactus That Move Across Desert

The Creeping Devil Cactus - Cactus That Move Across Desert

Stenocereus eruca, also known as a creeping devil, is a member of the relatively small genus Stenocereus and one of the most distinctive cacti. It is only found on sandy soils along the central Pacific coast of Baja California Sur, where it forms massive colonies.

Because of the dry, hot air, a desert is a difficult place for plants to grow. Plants use transpiration to move nutrients up their roots by evaporating water from their leaves.

The Creeping Devil is a rare and fascinating species of cactus capable of not only cloning itself to survive but also detaching from its main shoot and moving through the desert over time.

You might think someone walked through a cactus field with a machete if you come across a Creeping Devil in the desert. No, this rare cactus species lies horizontally on the ground in colonies, with only its tip slightly raised toward the sun, resembling a snake-infested bed. When hundreds of these cacti grow together in a massive colony, it almost looks like the scene of a brutal massacre.

Creeping devil cacti can grow up to two feet per year in the cool maritime climate of Baja California Sur, forming large, sometimes impenetrable colonies of thorny stems, but when transplanted to more arid climates, their growth rate drops to two feet per decade.

Unfortunately, this mysterious and one-of-a-kind cactus is on Mexico's endangered plant list. Cactus collectors will pay high prices to add it to their private succulent gardens due to its scarcity.

Aside from other threats such as bootleg marketing, the agricultural industry also threatens this remarkable cactus. The creeping devil cactus can be a nuisance for grazing cattle because its thorny stems grow parallel to the ground, especially when they form impenetrable barriers, so farmers casually destroy entire colonies, for whom the creeping devil is both a nuisance and a grazing barrier. And if things continue as they have in recent years, these incredible plants may not be able to move across the sandy coast of Baja California Sur for much longer.

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