Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cactus is Cactus

Helpful signage at the Botanical Garden
Innovations on this sign:
  • Includes the thing being defined in a pot which is part of the sign. Now, since the sign is sitting in the middle of a Cactus exhibit, in the center of what is essentially a cactus garden, in the middle of a desert which features cactus, I think most people by this point would already have at least a rough idea what they look like, and would come to an explanatory sign looking for further information.
  • Every sentence explaining what cactus are includes the word, except one, but the last one uses the word twice to make up for that.
  • In the sentence lacking the word cactus, you learn that succulents store water. Since the previous one explains that almost all cacti are succulents, I felt unfulfilled, in terms of learning about those cacti which are not succulents and so must not be able to store water.
  • The Cactus House should be made of cactus. It would be very possible to do so using Saguaro ribs.
  • The Wikipedia article on cacti includes the phrase "Crassulacean acid metabolism" I have no idea what that is, but any sign meant to raise interest in cacti really ought to include a phrase like "Crassulacean acid metabolism" if given the opportunity.
  • Polypodiaceae also use Crassulacean acid metabolism. What are Polypodiaceae? Plants which are members of the Polypodiaceae family!
  • Cacti that need a house are not worthy of the Cactus family name, and are cast out. Except, cacti prefer the wilderness, so I don't think you could cast them out there with much effect. Maybe locking them up in the cactus house is punishment enough.
  • Why did I put up a post about a cactus sign? Because I put up a post about a cactus sign. 

Get up. Go ride.


  1. I also like the recursive definition, "A cactus is a plant that is a member of the cactus family." Now that's informative!

  2. Apertome, yeah, I was walking around the garden laughing about that with my kids. Of course, a fair response is, what would I put on the sign instead?

    limom, in the inner cactus circles, out in the open desert, you are known as "stekelige vader", Thorny Father.


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