International Flower Delivery Blog

Uncovering the secrets of the cactus: Part one. Tales and legends

Our journey into floral lore continues with the cactus, a plant with so many amazing features that it deserves an article in two parts! In part one, let’s look at some of the legends that different cultures have devised regarding where the cactus came from and who gave it its distinguishing spines, and examine a surprising practical way in which the plant can prove useful.

Uncovering the cactus: a cactus collection

The cactus: an enchanted prince

But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The origins: a legend

A long time ago, there was a young man who lived in a Native American tribe. He went hunting one day, and ventured so deep into the woods that not a single person could ever reach him. Suddenly, terrible monsters appeared and began to pursue him. The young man realized that there was no escaping them, and, losing his strength, he turned to the gods for help.

In response, they turned him into a deer so that he could escape the pursuers. But the monsters still caught up with him. It almost looked like he was done for, when all of a sudden, the deer disappeared: it had turned into a small prickly plant that looked like a cone. Thus the first cactus came to be.

A plant with many spines

A Peruvian legend tells where the cactus got its many spines from. There once was a large, tall mountain on a steep slope, and it had nothing alive growing on it except for a single resident — the cactus. Day by day, llamas would run past the mountain, itching to bite off a piece of the juicy and tender cactus pulp. The lonely plant dodged the animal bites desperately and dreamed of obtaining some reliable protection from their teeth — it did not have any spines back then, but large leaves, like those of lettuce.

Uncovering the cactus: a flower-like succulent

A long time had to pass before, suddenly, the plant heard a peculiar noise. It turned around to look, and noticed something strange: a fox and a boulder were rushing from the top of the mountain, as if in a race. The red animal lagged far behind, but it was not going to give in: it saw the cactus and shouted that if it could block the stone somehow, the fox would give it its claws as a reward. The cactus quickly realized that it could benefit greatly from such a gift, so when the boulder was close, it used its big leaves to obstruct its path.

Wasting no time, the red beast reached the finish line and won the race. At that moment, the plant began to experience unusual sensations: its leaves were turning into thousands of needly spines. Since then, the prickly cactus and the cunning fox became friends, and stayed that way for a whole century!

A gentle rose and a white fragrant bud

Once upon a time a gentle, delicate Rose was having a birthday party, and all the flowers had to prepare their gifts. One of the cacti was not able to find a fitting gift, so he was upset and decided not to go the party at all. But the Rose was a thoughtful flower: she sent a butterfly to invite the Cactus to the birthday party anyway. The Cactus was very pleased that the regal beauty paid him so much attention and even sent a special courier, so he accepted.

The Cactus came to the Rose’s party, and when it was his turn to present a gift, he gave the birthday flower a sad and timid smile and offered his own spiny coat, as he believed that the Rose was too delicate, and defenseless against abuse.

The Rose accepted the gift with gratitude, as she felt she needed it, too, but she had not forgotten about the Cactus either: she knew that it was actually his birthday that day as well, but he had never mentioned it to anyone out of modesty. So in turn, as a birthday gift, the Rose gave her sweet friend a white fragrant bud.

Since that time, the Rose wears a spine coat, and the Cactus delights us with beautiful blossoms on his birthday.

The prince and the evil sorceress

Once, an evil sorceress decided to enchant a handsome prince to scare people away from him, and turned him into a prickly old dwarf with bristles all over. Before his transformation, the dwarf had managed to hide something in his clenched fist, but once a year, the fist unclenches, and a miracle happens: a beautiful flower appears on the dwarf’s spiny palm.

Uncovering the cactus: a cactus in bloom

This miracle represents a part of a luxurious satin mantle that he wore before he was transformed: by showing the flower, he tries to demonstrate his noble lineage. Alas, no one seems to understand this sign, except for a few people around the world who call themselves cactus growers or cactus collectors. For them, each of these spiny dwarfs is a prince, to be treated with care and to be given honor. And in gratitude for this care, the cactus gives them the most expensive thing he has — a piece of his mantle.

A mighty protector

Since the ancient times, people have believed that this prickly plant has magical properties, and it held symbolic and ritual significance for priests and shamans as far back as Ancient India. Most of all, it is considered a protector plant: it is supposed to be capable of shielding us from any negative energy in the house, like a warrior that defends us from harm and evil.

There must be some special energy in its spines that attracts any impurity, but at the same time, renders it unable to bring harm to people around it. Because of its capacity to remove negativity, placing the cactus next to your front door or a window is a good way to clean up the vibes at home.

Neat, isn’t it? We will cover more ways to put this knight of the household to practical use and explore its amazing properties in part two of this article.

And now, it is time to cut to the chase: is always happy to help you furnish your friends’ houses with protector plants and flowers!

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