Field of Science

Friday fabulous flower - the color purple

 TPP has been traveling to spend time with some friends and the game plan was sound, go south to out run the polar vortex, and so we headed to palo duro Canyon.  And our warm weather sojourn was a magnificent failure as all of Texas turned fridgid and nearby Amarillo got 9" of snow.  But before this we had a good time, saw a good sampling of wildlife and birds, and got home safely.  

Here is one of many prickly pear cacti (Opuntia not sure what species), showing its winter coloration,  undoubtedly caused by plant pigments called anthocyanins coloring these stems with a rather lovely purplish hue.  Can't do much better in the desert in February.  Although the desert was covered in crystalline white hoar frost, a frozen fog.  Beautiful.   
Cleared out of Texas on Friday last and back to Tulsa, where dire weather forecasts helped the Phactors decide to drive back to Lincolnland on Saturday, on dry roads (very important), before snow and severe cold arrived. Just in time so to speak.  


Anonymous said...

C’mon now... did you not check with a Texan first? NOBODY goes near Amarillo in the winter.

Anonymous said...

Dearest Phactor,

I am pretty certain that the purple colouration is due to a betalain / betalains.
Less certain, but I think anthocyanins are not found in the Cactaceae.

On my one trip to USA, I made it to Yucca, Arizona - my only visit to a desert...covered with snow ... not how I imagined it!!.... and there were the Yuccas with snow-covered leaves - the image is still with me 40 years later.
thanks for the entertaining post.

PS went to Amarillo on the same trip (late November) and yes it was bitterly cold there too!

The Phytophactor said...

Actually TPP was traveling with two Texans, but we filled the tank with optimism. But we got out of the area just in time to dodge the next round of winter storms.

The Phytophactor said...

Dear BrianO you are so right. Forgot some basic taxonomy about Cactaceae and related families; betalains is correct. Been too long since TPP taught taxonomy. Such a mistake!