This photo was taken at the New York Botanical Gardens in the desert section of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory. Cacti produce some of the most stunningly beautiful flowers in the world. These brilliantly colored pink flowers were on the top of a teeny little barrel-shaped cactus. A cactus must be mature to flower and this can take more than 30 years for some cacti, and 40-55 years for the saguaro cactus! A word of warning though, not all cactus flowers are real. I have seen flowering cacti becoming more popular at grocery stores and corner stores, and the same cactus comes in a variety of brightly colored flowers from purples and pinks to oranges and yellows. Wondering how this could be possible, I have felt the flowers to assure myself that they are real. They are technically “real” flowers, just not real cactus flowers. My friend recently purchased one, and was kind enough to provide me a photo (below). These flowers are actually a strawflower (or everlasting flower) which have been glued to the cactus. These flowers can stay in perfect condition long after removal from the plant, and for marketing convenience make a very pretty addition to a cactus.