The bull devil
A species of cactus named “cow devil” in Mexico not only cut itself off to move, but also eat the dead tail to survive.
The bull devil (Stenocereus eruca) is a unique species of cactus that grows on the Baja California Sur peninsula in the western coastal region of Mexico, according to Amusing Planet. Instead of growing vertically like other species of the cactus family, the devil crawls horizontally on the ground, with only the top slightly raised. When hundreds of crawling demon roots grow close together to form a large population, the scene is like someone has cut a tree into many pieces.
How it self-spawns, self-destructs, eats itself
The climbing devil cactus is also famous for its rare crawling ability. Lying prostrate on the ground, this succulent grows in a forward and backward self-destruct pattern. The underside of the trunk regularly grows new roots like anchors that help the plant absorb nutrients while it moves on its own, crawling through the desert.
The tail of the plant, when self-destructing, will assimilate with the soil, turn into plant nutrients, and be sucked back into the plant through the roots. In other words, the creeping devil cactus not only kills itself to move, it also eats itself to survive.
According to Wikipedia, the creeping death cactus is considered the “most extreme case of clonal propagation in the cactus family” (Gibson and Nobel, 1986). Alright, tell me, what does that mean?
Well, it means that the cactus has another superpower, beside moving around. Since it is so isolated and pollinating creatures are so scarce in its environment, the plant evolvged to clone itself through pieces detaching from the major shoot as their bases die and rot. A self-cloning cactus that moves around, wow. The growth and movement of the creeping devil cactus depends on the climate in which it grows. In its native place with a humid and marine climate, it moves at a speed of nearly a meter per year.
Researchers still don’t know exactly why this cactus moves. Most likely it’s an evolutionary way to survive.
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