The Turks Head Cactus is a small rounded Cactus with a big read head. It can be found at St. John’s East End where the climate is much hotter and drier vs. the Cruz Bay area.
Since the red, wool-coated top of the plant is similar to the Fez hat of the Turkish male citizens during late Ottoman Empire, one name for the plant is Turk’s heard or Turk’s cap cactus. It is also known as Pope’s Head or Barrel Cactus.
Up to 20 large, broad ribs run up the length of the stem, and it is covered in stout, yellow-brown spines which may measure up to 2.5 inches.
The head is produced when the Turk’s head cactus reaches maturity, and continues to grow until the plant dies. It is a dense mass of areoles, made up of white wool and soft brown or reddish bristles. The small, generally pinkish flowers form on top of the cephalium.
Eating the Turks Head Cactus Fruits
The conspicuous fruits of the Turk’s head cactus are broad and club-shaped, and are usually red or pink and very tasty. We haven’t tried it ourselves but it is said to taste like Dragon Fruit.
The Turks Head Cactus actually named the Turks and Caicos Islands
The Turks Islands in the Caribbean take their name from the Turk’s head cactus, which is widespread throughout the islands.
Where to find Turks Head Cactus on St. John
Best place to see many of them is the Ram’s Head Trail