Cactus play an important role in the dry tropical forests of Bonaire. These spikey plants help anchor sediments, increase water available in the soil and provide food for a number of animals, insects and reptiles!


Candelabra Cactus

These high soring cacti are the easiest to spot, as they can grow up to 10m high! As it grows older, the trunk of the cactus will turn reddish-brown and starts to look like an elephant’s leg.

This cactus grows funnel-shaped flowers that are white and pink.  The fruit can be red, purple or even green and is an important food source for many animals, including the native bat species on Bonaire.

Fun Fact: There is a candelabra cactus in India that has grown to bee 34 m tall, making it the tallest cactus in the world.

milon di seru

Melon cactus

There are over 30 different species of melon cactus world wide and are native to the Caribbean.  Here on Bonaire you can easily find these cactus where ever you go.  Their round shape and “hat” like top make them easy to spot.

These cacti are able to extend their roots through even the smallest cracks in the rock meaning they can grow in high wind areas.

Fun Fact: These cacti have a small pink fruit that looks like a pepper.  It grows out of the top “hat” and is a favorite snack for many birds and lizards.


Prickly Pear

Known locally as the tuna, this cactus can grow between 5 – 7 m tall. It grows large green paddles with long, sharp spikes.  When it starts to bloom its easy to see how it earned the name prickly pear, as it grows round, pink fruits that look like pears.  Both the fruit and cactus paddle are edible and provide much needed nutrition in times of drought for a number of animals here on Bonaire.

Fun Fact: Did you know the prickly pear cactus can grow from a piece that breaks off! Don’t worry if you see a single paddle lying on the ground, it will sprout roots and grow a brand new cactus in just a few weeks!

Want to learn more about dry tropical forests?

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