La Graciosa has been invaded by local officials after a British professor discovered that a cactus found on the island contains a powerful chemical that is almost identical to Viagra.
Professor Stuart Farley presented a preliminary report to the Canarian Government in early March, in which he claimed that the local cactus Priqlius erectus contained a compound almost identical to the active agent in Viagra. Prof Farley will formally announce his findings to the world on April 1st.
To find out more about the cactus, we took the ferry to La Graciosa, which was surprisingly crowded with middle-aged politicians, businessmen and professionals.
Doña Estefanía, 76, has lived in La Graciosa all her life, and knows the cactus well. She tells me locals call it ‘El Comandante’ because “it makes the men stand to attention” and says she occasionally took some of the cacti to Haría market when she was young.
“I think it’s all rubbish anyway,” she says “Our men have never needed anything like that,” she claims, as her husband Don Eusebio smiles quietly in the corner, vigorously grinding some spices with his large wooden pestle.
Local legend says that, while eating the cactus is effective, being pricked by a spine in the groin area can have even more powerful and long-lasting effects.
As we approached the small valley where the cacti grow, we heard blood-curdling screams and loud Spanish obscenities coming from the cactus plantation. “I fell in!” a well-known Arrecife notary told us, nursing his private parts, while a similarly-injured property promoter pointed at a government minister and said “He pushed me!”
We also encountered Primero de Abril, the Canarian Government’s minister of wildlife, who told us “I’m here to research this remarkable discovery for myself. This could be a hugely profitable discovery for the island, as this cactus is only found in this part of the world.”
However, some worry that cactus thieves and poachers could steal the valuable plants, and point to the minister’s previous lack of action in protecting seabirds. “I admit that in the past I have been soft in certain areas,” said de Abril, “But from now on I can assure you I will be much firmer. If necessary I’ll stay up all night… Sorry, what did you say about thieves?”.
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