The cactus is an unusual strain of plant which primarily lives in the southwestern deserts of North America (southwest USA and Mexico) and it is typically found in hot dry low-rainfall type of climates. Over 1000 varieties of cactus are known, but most spoons only picture the more well known and massive types. For the eastern tourist visiting these lands, the cactus was a very strange looking plant that truly represented the region.
Hand modified spoon showing a giant Saguaro cactus. The unusual part is the old wagon wheel which is leaning against it. The desert was particularly hard on the old covered wagons as they attempted to reach the California coast and many of them did not survive the trip. Thus the wagon wheel is a symbol of those failed attempts.
Full handled tea sized figural of a giant Saguaro cactus. The bowl shows an embossed picture of the Casa Grande Ruins (600 year old tower in the Gila Valley built by the ancient Navajo tribe). Spoon was custom made by Gorham and retailed by Cook and Bell of Prescott and Phoenix, Arizona
Two spoons each showing a giant saguaro cactus
The left spoon is only marked "sterling". But the right one is also marked with the Tammen trade mark. Since the only difference is that the left one has cutouts, I think it is safe to assume that they were both produced by the same company. The right spoon is also available in a "solid copper" version.
Full figural of a giant saguaro cactus with a hand engraved bowl which may be seen in the Mexican spoon exhibit
The Jumping Cholla cactus has a reputation (false) for "leaping" at people and animals. The thorny branches will easily break if touched and can cause painful injuries. Goldfield, Nevada is home to many gold and silver mines. "El Dorado" is the fabled "lost treasure" that miners seek. (hand engraved bowl)
Cute spoon with saguaro cactus on the left and prickly pear cactus on the right. These are hand cutout.
Prickly Pear Cactus handle with a Mexican 50 centavo 1881 silver coin bowl
Manufactured by Shreve & Co. of San Francisco