Gertrud & Ad Konings

The allure of the desert will absorb just about anyone, even those with a marginal interest in nature, and one can only be astounded by the myriad of life forms that survive in such a seemingly hostile environment. Cacti have always been associated with deserts, and in Texas—the US state with the highest diversity of cacti—most of them occur in the so-called Trans-Pecos, which is the western part of the state that is covered by the Chihuahuan Desert.

Unassuming and often armed with spines a small cactus often goes unnoticed in its natural habitat. This, however, radically changes after rains provide the juice of life; flowers, sometimes larger than the plant itself, materialize in a matter of days and seize the moment to propagate in their normally hot and dry environment. Rarely a cactus flower is open for longer than seven hours, usually during the hottest time of the day, after which it wilts before the night falls. Because most cacti in any given area are synchronized by the irregular rain showers, most bloom on exactly the same day—an arresting spectacle. For most visitors to the desert such a mass blooming is a once-in-a-lifetime event, not easily forgotten, which adds to the excitement of being in a desert.

This book represents the distillation of an extensive collection of photographs taken during innumerable hikes and tens of thousands of miles of driving on Texas roads. With over nine years of cactus searching under their belt, the authors—both biologists—are some of the very few people who have seen and photographed each of the 136 species of cacti of Texas in the wild. Almost all of these species were photographed while in bloom. The most important aspect of this book is the fact that each cactus is shown in its natural setting. Unite this fact with the stunning photographs, displaying the cacti at their best—in their natural habitat—and the result is the finest possible showcase for Texas cacti.

216 pages;
30x28 cm (11.75x11")
price: $59.95

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