Prickly Pear Cactus in Big Bend National Park

March 28, 2018

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Photographer: J. Michelle Pakron 
Summary Authors: J. Michelle Pakron; Jim Foster

Shown above is one of the familiar desert succulents found in the southwestern U.S. This prickly pear cactus, perhaps a pancake prickly pear (Opuntia chlorotica), has seen better days. It was photographed in Big Bend National Park, Texas on November 21, 2017. Ubiquitous enough to be the state plant of Texas but not so common to be considered a nuisance, it blooms briefly in mid spring, showing off bright yellow flowers or sometimes red ones. This old-timer has seen better days. Note that the fruit of the prickly pears is considered edible as are its pads, but be careful to remove first its namesake spines