Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Ye Olde Prickly Pear
One type of cactus you can always count on is the Prickly Pear whether you like them or not. They come in all sizes from the flat pads, spines, small glochids, itchy to downright painful. Prickly pears always are around.
From the Opuntia family these cacti are found in all the major North American deserts. The Great Basin is North America's largest desert. And one of the few species of cacti that live there are the opuntia polycantha.
This lovely cold hardy cacti was one I encountered as a young boy in Sandy, Utah along the mountain foothills. I ran into a giant colony of them and screamed all the way home. Now I raise them, how irony changes a hate to a love.
Lewis and Clark as they came across the continent noted that the prickly pears were everywhere and they had to watch out carefully or they would step in them. The thorns went through their moccasins (OUCH!) and were a constant nuisance.
I am not sure if prickly pear or any other cacti for that matter send out rhizomes, so help me out here in the comments section if you have an idea.