Prickly Pear Cactus

Kurt Elieson

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First Class requirement #6: Identify or show evidence of at least 10 kinds of native plants found in your community.

Prickly pear is the most common cactus around Dallas-Fort Worth. Cactus like it in dry West Texas, not in humid East Texas. When you get as far east as Dallas-Fort Worth, prickly pear is the cactus that is still happy. When traveling west from Fort Worth you will see fewer pecans, oaks, and poison ivy, and in their place you will see more mesquite, prickly pear, and yucca. There is a cactus garden with more than a dozen varieties of cactus at Fort Richardson State Park in Jacksboro (northwest of Fort Worth).

Prickly pear looks like pieces of green pancake stuck together end to end. Sometimes it will also have red or yellow flowers. Like other cactus, prickly pear has thorns. But at least with prickly pear the individual thorns are usually large enough to be seen, avoided, and if necessary removed.

Click on the pictures to see them up close. Look, but don't touch.

Page last updated 2011.11.07