Before reading the references below on the Prickely Pear, allow me to muse about our newest adventure to the desert. There is beauty here we haven’t yet experienced fully in our lives.
O. ficus-indica is polyploid, hermaphroditic, and autogamous. As Opuntia species grow in semiarid environments, the main limiting factor in their environment is water. They have developed a number of adaptations to dry conditions, notably succulence.
It has a water-repellent and sun-reflecting waxy epidermis. Cladodes that are 1–2 years old produce flowers, with the fruit’s colours ranging from pale green to deep red.
The plants flower in three distinct colours: white, yellow, and red. The flowers first appear in early May through the early summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the fruits ripen from August through October.
The fruits are typically eaten, minus the thick outer skin, after chilling in a refrigerator for a few hours. They have a taste similar to sweet watermelon. The bright red/purple or white/yellowish flesh contains many tiny hard seeds that are usually swallowed, but should be avoided by those who have problems digesting seeds.
Prickly Pears smile at me…
As I was sitting on the bench behind the rec center, a beautiful smile appeared in front of me. It was a Prickly Pear bloom with a smile that that warmed my heart so.
How is it that such incredible beauty is captured in a place so dry? To the Prickly, this is life at its very best. Water is stored like a well, it’s own water source.
When the magic of a Sonora spring arrives in April, it’s time to bring a smile to the desert once again. The Prickly is often called a Cactus Apple, tastes like your favorite apple, maybe.
I see the White Tank mountains too, while gazing out at the Saguaros standing guard. This was the moment my soul moved me to the desert where new dreams appear, inspiration explodes, and healing begins.
More to come as we journey over the coming weeks down the coast to Los Angeles before heading east to the desert east of Palm Springs. See you along the way!