“Bolcactus” (Ball Cactus) in Dutch, “Milon di Seru” / “Kabes di Indjan” / “Bushi” in Papiamentu, belongs to the Melocactus species, native to the Caribbean and South – Central American region. Commonly found in mondis (in the wild), Melocactus has about 30-40 species, but experts have yet to determine which are native to Curaçao.
Most species are round with about 12 ribs covered in reddish brown spines. When they bloom, they grow a felt-like pillow on top, like a (cactus) boob, or Will Smith’s hair circa Fresh Prince of Bell Air when more cylindrical.
A well-trained eye can spot the small fluorescent pink fruit sticking out of its felt-like pillow (think nipples) right away. But eager beavers should beware of pricks. No real gratification here as the fruit tastes relatively bland, but its seedy, gluey juice makes for ‘interesting’ consistency…
Unique among cacti, our Milon di Seru hangs off cliffs and prospers in our dry, rocky landscape because its long, extensive system of roots collects water from unexpected sources, to store in its round bosom(s) during dry spells. As cute as these wild boobs may be, try to resist temptation, okay? Pulling them out of the ground to re-plant in your garden invariably damages their long roots, causing untimely death.