“Opuntia is the most widespread of all genera in the cactus family. The genus occurs naturally throughout North and South America from as far north as Canada, through the Caribbean, and down into Argentina. With man’s help, however, this species can now be found world-wide where it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized even to the point of being classified as a noxious weed.”
Source: – https://cactiguide.com/cactus/?genus=Opuntia
While much of the country is still in early spring, the desert is moving quickly through its yearly spring and toward what most would consider summer. As of this writing, we are still in the sweet spot of a bumper crop of blooms. The native desert plants are taking their turns in showing off.
Most of the year our cacti look like a pincushion holding onto its requisite supply of pins, but hidden in the DNA of each of these organisms is the promise of blooming beauty. Some of the blooms like our pink Opuntia (see photos above and below) look as though they would be more at home floating in a tropical drink.
As pretty as these are, many of the cactus flowers have a prime bloom duration of only one day, but what a bloom it is!
You may know Opuntia cacti. They are the “paddle” cactus family. They have large, flat paddle-like growths that look similar to the ears of a number of Walt Disney characters. The picture below better shows the paddles with the pink bloom atop.
To the left of the bloom are “ladies in waiting,” so to speak. The buds will plump until nature tells them it is their turn to open and show off.
A more common Opuntia would be the yellow variety. We have several specimens in our front landscape.
The pile of paddles above is more than five feet tall and if the truth be told, it would probably benefit from a pruning.
This is a closeup of the flower. Note the buds in the corners of the photo.
Some of the paddles have a cascade of blooms that open on the same day and form an amazing vertical line.
While I am enjoying the wonderful blooms in our landscape, I hope to share more of them with JBRish readers.
You can read more about Opuntias and Paddle Cacti at the link above.
JBRish.com originally published this post
All photographs are Copyright by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved
See more JBRish gardening and desert gardening posts here HERE