Unusual Plants with Nasty Thorns and Spines

Here I highlight some unusual plants with nasty thorns and spines.

This cactus ‘tree’ was spotted on an art walk in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Pachypodium is a succulent spine-bearing tree, native to Madagascar and Africa, often called the Madagascar PalmPachypodium translates as ‘thick foot’ and eventually this succulent trunk, which stores water for the plant, becomes swollen and vase-shaped at the base. Cactus tree in Puerto Vallarta, MexicoAnother photo of the same plant. The fleshy trunk and the oval shape of the leaves remind me of Plumeria trees, the favourite fragrant flower in Hawaiian leis. Apparently these ‘palms’ are a close relative, also often having fragrant flowers. Plumerias are thornless and much friendlier though.The very spiny stem of a cactus in Puerto Vallarta, MexicoI’m not sure what this one is but this plant with thorny stems was found in the Singapore Botanical Garden. Something about the way it looks makes me think that it might also be related to the Madagascar Palm above.Thorny trunks in the Singapore Botanical GardenThis Crown of Thorns plant in Myanmar again has the same oval leaves and general nasty demeanour of the Madagascar Palm – another relative? Spiny Crown of Thorns plant in bloom in MyanmarSpiny Crown of Thorns plant with red flowers in a Penang temple in Malaysia.Spiny Crown of Thorns plant with red flowers in a Penang temple in MalaysiaPencil sketch of a Crown of Thorns plant in Myanmar.pencil sketch of a Crown of Thorns plant in MyanmarVicious (and not very pretty) prickly plant in Khao Yai National Park in Thailand.Vicious prickly plant in KhaoYai National Park in ThailandThe Kapok tree, Ceiba pentandra, produces seeds with a silky fibre. In contrast to the silky seed floss, the trunks of the trees have vicious thorns erupting from them.Very thorny Kapok tree in Puerto Vallarta, MexicoAlthough unfriendly plants seem to do better in hot places there are lots of thorny plants in cooler places too. This Wingthorn Rose, Rosa Omeinsis, with its vivid red thorns, was found in a Vancouver garden. Wingthorn Rose, Rosa Omeinsis, with its vivid red thorns in a Vancouver gardenAnother thorny plant from Vancouver with Dr Seuss leaves – it must look very different once all the leaves are out!thorny plant with Dr Seuss LeavesA boggy trail to Middle Joffre Lake is lined with Devil’s Club. This could make wandering off the trail very painful if you even brushed up against one of these beautiful but prickly characters. (BC, Canada)Devil's Club in the LightOf course there are the typical thorny plants like roses and brambles but I wanted to feature some of the more unusual thorny plants.

More of the Friendly Friday Photo Challenge: Unusual.

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