May 1, 2009
Cactus in Bloom
Opuntia lindheimeri, known as Texas prickly pear, is a cactus originating in Texas that grows throughout the American southwest. It blooms in spring and early summer, with flowers that range from pale yellow to red. The fruit is edible, but I haven't tried it. The spines can be burned off so that the plant can be fed to cattle as a source of water.
The plants can grow ten feet high, but I haven't seen any beyond three or four feet. Drought tolerant and good-looking, they make sense in our water-rationed gardens.