Create a prickly cactus. This uses type on a path to create the prickly bits then a nice slip shadow on the internal shapes to finish it off.
Create a tall rectangle, heavy stroke, no fill.
Use the Direct Selection Tool to select the top two point and pull them in to widget the corners.
Select the shape and choose Object>Path>Offset path. Set the path to be a negative number to create a path inside the shape. Click the preview button to see the results. Click OK once the path is half way inside the shape.
This is the offset path results.
Copy the exterior path and rotate it 90°. Use the Direct Selection Tool to shorted then end.
Copy the path again and rotate it 90°. Select both shapes.
Use the Pathfinder Unite mode to create one shape from the two.
Use the Direct Selection Tool to shorten then end.
Select the shape and choose Object>Path>Offset path. The setting will be the same as the last shape.
Move the shapes into position.
Copy the arm and flip it using the Reflect Tool.
Select the 3 outer shapes. Use the Pathfinder Unite mode to create one shape from the two.
Use the Direct Selection Tool to bring then ends to meet the inner vertical shape.
Select all 3 vertical shapes. Use the Pathfinder Unite mode to create one shape from the two.
Fill both completed shapes.
Duplicate the outer shape. Select the Type on a Path Tool and click on the path, the fill and stroke will disappear.
Type along the path using a vertical slash - | - to create the spikes on the cactus.
Place the text on a path behind the shapes lined up with the outer shape.
Select the type on a path, choose Type>Create Outlines. Add a stroke to the vertical spikes in the same color to make the weight heavier.
Select the inner shape and copy it. Chose the Draw Inside mode at the bottom of the Tool Bar. Paste the copied shape into the shape.
Use the Right Arrow on the keyboard to shift the shape to the right. Set the opacity of the pasted shape to be 20%. Click on the Draw Normal mode.
Repeat the last step with the outside shape to create slip shadow. You are done!