This is no ordinary cactus – it is a sabra plant. We continued our journey up beyond the village of Meron and into an area above that had caves, rocks and flowers. I photographed this large green cactus, and my friend informed me that it is a sabra. Native born Israelis are referred to as sabras, because like the plant, they are supposed to be prickly on the outside and sweet on the inside.
Here is the sabra flower up close. Known in English as a prickly pear cactus, on Wikipedia I learned:
Prickly pears typically grow with flat, rounded cladodes (also called platyclades) that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures.
The Hebrew word for the cactus fig is tsabar, “similar to and derived from the Arabic ‘صبار ṣubbār’.” It is reportedly also used as fencing. Have you ever eaten a sabra fruit?
As this lovely little kalanit plant was growing near the sabra, I’m sharing it as well in this post. To see more of those red poppy anemones, visit my post on my hike on the Peak Trail of Mount Meron.
For more Nature Notes: