Thorns and Prickles

  • Prickle: A hard pointed dermal appendage that does not contain a vascular bundle.

  • Thorn:   A leaf, part of a leaf, or shoot, with a vascular bundle, and ending in a hard, sharp point.

  • As a means of protecting themselves, several trees produce thorns to discourage herbivores from eating the foliage. One such tree is the Acacia Tree, which produces thorns (below, left) in a variety of sizes and shapes. These thorns fall off the tree with age or disturbance and float to various shorelines.

    Another tree that produces such armor is the Kapok Tree (aka Silk-Cotton Tree, Ceiba pentandra). These "thorny" protuberances (below, right) cover the trunks and branches of trees until the tree becomes quite mature and they fall off. Although many people refer to these sharp protuberances as thorns or spines, technically (botanically, for this tree), they are called "Prickles"

    See: Thorns & Prickles & Spines, Oh My!) by Steve Jones, Jan. 13, 2001. Also: Jul 2005; American Rose 38(7):32.
    See also: Thorns, spines, and prickles - from Wikipedia

    Acacia Thorns
    Photo: Jasmine Dale of Deep Blue Utila

    Kapok Prickles
    These pictured range in size from 1 to 4 inches across.


  • Research in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Eastern Sonora, Mexico

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