And God Created Cactus on a Scorching Sunday

Posted on Sunday, October 03, 2010, under

CACTUS /ˈkæk.təs/ n [C] (plural cacti or cactuses
1. The generic name of many succulent plants remarkable for their thick fleshy stems, generally without leaves, and armed with curious clusters of spines; they have usually few branches or none, and are often of grotesque shape, with flowers of great beauty and sweetness. The Linnæan genus Cactus is now subdivided into about 20 genera, as Cereus, Echinocactus, Opuntia, etc., constituting the family Cactaceæ, all of which however are popularly cactuses.

   1767 J. Abercrombie Ev. Man own Gard. (1803) Index, Cactus, or Melon and Torch-thistle.    1807 G. Gregory Dict. Arts & Sc. I. 283/3 Cactus, melon thistle‥in the natural method ranking under the 13th order Succulentæ.    1814 Lunan Hortus Jamaic. I. 413 The slender parasitical currant cactus or Indian fig.    1836 Macgillivray Humboldt's Trav. iv. 63 Cactuses rose here and there, from a scanty soil.    1843 Prescott Mexico (1850) I. 13 The device of the eagle and the cactus‥the arms of the modern Mexican republic.

2. attrib., as in cactus tribe, cactus family, etc.; cactus thorn, etc.; cactus dahlia, a Mexican dahlia, so called from its cactus-like flame-coloured flower; cactus wren U.S., a North American wren of the genus Campylorhynchus, frequenting cactus plants.

   1865 Tylor Early Hist. Man. vi. 119 To make rag-dolls, and stick cactus-thorns into them.    1869 Amer. Naturalist III. 183 The Rock Wren‥and Cactus Wren (Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus) chirrup loudly.    1870 H. Macmillan Bible Teach. vii. 135 In the cactus tribe, the whole plant consists of jointed leaves.    1881 Daily News 14 Sept. 2/6 The latest importation from Mexico‥the cactus dahlia, ‘Juarezii’.    1881 Amer. Naturalist XV. 211 The cactus wren, so called from its habit of nesting in the cactus whenever available.    1882 Garden 19 Aug. 156/2 What a brilliant flower is that of the Cactus Dahlia.

source: OED, 2nd ed., 1989

edit post

0 Reply to "And God Created Cactus on a Scorching Sunday"