Desert Bloom

Claret Cup Bloom

Claret Cup Bloom © 2013 Bo Mackison

When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world. ~ John Muir

The claret cup hedgehog cactus has one of my favorite early blooms – a deep orange cup that attracts hummingbirds as pollinators. Every time I see the claret cup in bloom, with a hummer dances at its edges, I laugh in delight.

It is the only cactus in Arizona pollinated by hummingbirds. The hummingbirds stick their entire heads into the cup to get a drink of nectar, and get their heads dusted with yellow pollen for their efforts. I love to see the hummers with foreheads of pecks of pollen after they’ve gotten their fill from a few claret cups.

Unlike many cacti whose blossoms close in the evening and last only a day or two, the claret cup flowers stay open day and night and can last three to five days. It’s a cactus that isn’t stingy with its beauty.


Bo Mackison is a photographer and owner of Seeded Earth Studio LLC.  She continues to discover beauty and inspiration while exploring the Sonoran Desert.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Gandalf says:

    That is one vibrant blossom. Very awesome & a beautiful image.

  2. That’s a beautiful image!
    What a wonderful plant, although I have inadvertently walked into them and found them somewhat unfriendly.

  3. Bright and happy macro. You give us the hummingbird’s viewpoint. Your notes remind me of how fleeting are flowers–yet, what joy they bring.

  4. Such beautiful vivid orange and yellow colours Bo. 🙂

  5. Oh, to be a humming bird!!!!

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