How Some Vegetation Shield Themselves Can Be Harmful

Final weekend, I attended the mixed Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society and SE Michigan Bromeliad Society present and sale. As a cashier, I noticed all of the crops being bought. Greater than as soon as I warned individuals in regards to the glochids contained on opuntia pads. The opposite cashiers and I  had been stabbed greater than as soon as trying to get the worth tags out of the crops. It made me suppose how some crops defend themselves might be harmful. Spines aren’t the one manner they defend themselves towards their enemies. 


These fuzzy-looking cacti beneath are opuntias, however typically referred to as bunny’s ears. That suggests to me they’re mushy and might be “petted”. Proper? NO! These fuzzy areas of spines are hiding glochids. What are they? The satan! That’s what they’re. Glochids are small barbed spines which are tiny and arduous to see. Barbed is the key phrase. They stick like glue and in reality, that could be what it’s essential to get them out of your pores and skin. I’ve learn that spreading a skinny layer of college glue over the glochids,  permitting it to dry, after which peeling it off, pulls the small spines out of your pores and skin. I’ve used tape and a magnifying glass with tweezers. Should you evenly brush towards these crops, the glochids will get you. I communicate from expertise. 



Different cacti spines are a bit extra apparent to the bare eye and a transparent hazard signal. Cacti spines are painful. These water-storing crops are tempting to thirsty animals within the desert needing a drink. In the event that they try to take a chew of those crops, they won’t do it once more. These can be painful to the human contact. Watch out when working with cacti. I take advantage of tongs, a strip of outdated carpet, or folded newspaper when repotting these crops. 

The curved spines of the cactus beneath can attain out and seize you!

curved cacti spines

However, spines might be so beautiful!! Have a look at the colours beneath!

Don’t let fuzzy, or bushy cacti idiot you. There are spines underneath that soft-looking fuzz.  

Stipular Spines

Stipular spines are spines that happen on succulents, referred to as that becazuse they haven’t any areoles like cacti. These happen on Euphorbias and different succulents. Imagine me, you received’t know the distinction between these and common spines once you stumble upon one! 


Plant Sap

Most of us are conversant in the Aloe vera plant that has the therapeutic sap used when burns happen. But, some crops have sap that may be irritating to many individuals. One household of crops that involves thoughts is the euphorbias. That household consists of the poinsettia that’s touted to trigger loss of life if eaten. That’s an outdated wives’ story, however it may be irritating if touched or eaten by a pet. The euphorbia sap is a latex substance and it’s crucial that’s by no means put in your mouth and extra importantly, not allowed to get in your eyes. Use gloves when repotting these crops and wash your fingers properly afterwards.


Euphorbia sap might be harmful

Ficus Sap

One other group of crops which have an irritatting sap is the fig or ficus household. When trimming my ficus, I take advantage of a small piece of tissue or paper towel to stem the circulation of the sap. It isn’t one thing you need in your flooring or furnishings. It is also latex so deal with the crops with care when dealing with them. Gloves are a good suggestion.

Fius sap

Ficus sap drips when a stem or leaf is minimize off


Many bromeliads even have defenses towards hungry animals within the type of spines or tooth on the sting of their leaves. You may see a few of these crops beneath which have apparent spines, but some bromeliads have spines that aren’t discernable to the bare eye. Should you run your hand alongside the sting of the leaf you’ll really feel them. 



Vegetation are adept at preserving themselves secure from any type of enemy. Some do that with glochids, spines, or irritating sap. These are all issues we want to pay attention to when dealing with our crops. Being knowledgeable is half the battle. All the time use gloves, don’t contact your mouth or eyes when working with crops, and wash your fingers properly afterwards. I’ve been taking good care of crops for a few years and to date with just one incident, I’ve been fortunate. 

Have an awesome week, plant pals!


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