cactus in peril
The chumbo (cactus) that grows along the path up to our house is under attack from insects. This near invulnerable plant that forms impenetrable hedges between properties and allegedly absorbs poisons and smells from septic tanks is host to a small beetle that lives in the "leaves" and creates the grey dusty effect you see here. The insect was introduced to Spain and can be harvested to get cochineal - in fact if you rub the scaley grey cases it leaves residues of purple dye on your fingers. Meanwhile we have a rather ugly and failing plant at this time of year but we won't cut it down as the root system helps to bind the banks together and stops erosion in the rainy season.