Prickly Pear Cactus Flowers

2021 December 12

Sandy and the girls took a trip to The Badlands in South Dakota back in June 2021. I didn’t go with them (I had some work I wanted to get done, and somebody had to look after the dog, cat, and chickens), but they took some pictured for me. Like these pictures of cactus blossoms that they took on June 18, 2021.

These are Prickly Pear cacti (genus Opuntia), and I hadn’t realized just how big and showy their blossoms can be.

There were at least two different kinds, the other kind had plain yellow blossoms instead of yellow with an orange center.

Once the blossom finishes, the fruit is apparently the lobe of the cactus directly below it, which I guess get ripe sometime in the fall.

Once the fruit matures, it turns red and is edible, although it apparently has little spikes in the skin that are really uncomfortable if eaten. The fruit needs to be either carefully peeled, rolled around in gritty sand to wear off the spines, or singed over a fire to burn the spines off.

Prickly pear mostly don’t grow in Michigan, because cacti don’t like it too wet and most of Michigan is way soggier than South Dakota. Although, it does grow in sandy soils in some of the drier parts of the state:

I don’t know if there is anywhere around here where they could be grown, it is possible that our deep snow cover leading into a very wet spring might be too much for them. But, it occurs to me that they might possibly be able to grown in the stamp sands left over from the copper-mining days. Most other plants can’t handle the stamp-sand because water drains out too quickly and it gets too dry, but cacti should be able to handle that just fine. It is certainly worth a try!

3 Responses
  1. Anne Bingham permalink
    December 12, 2021

    Prickly pear fruit are a component of one of my all-time favorite hard ciders: Wyder’s Prickly Pineapple.

  2. December 13, 2021

    Succulents are horrible.

    That is all.

  3. barb quenzi permalink
    December 13, 2021

    We saw some Opuntia in the Huron Mountain area, it was on an open, south facing hillside. This was a long time ago, but who can forget cactus in the Huron Mt. I bet we have pictures, but they were probably on pieces of paper. So, you and family have to take a trek there and find some. If anybody can find them you can.

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