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The cactus of the Galapagos have a formidable enemy in the giant tortoises, and the land iguanas. Both these reptiles happily much down cactus pads, complete with spines (see land iguana eating). This may be one reason some species evolved to the size of trees (see tree cactus). The alternative is to grow so many spines as to not be worth eating at all. This is the strategy of the candelabra cactus (Jasminocereus thouarsii) featured here. This species is endemic to the Galapagos and is found on several islands.

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candelabra cactus


Photo of candelabra cactus spines

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The candelabra cactus is well-defended with a barrier of spines on its lower stem. Some of the most spectacular specimens are found around Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island, including near the Charles Darwin Research Station, where this cactus was photographed.

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Learn about candelabra cactus natural history

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candelabra cactus spine photo


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