Monday, February 6, 2012

Green in Winter: Prickly Pear Cactus

One of Indiana’s most unusual plants, Opuntia humifusa is common and frequent in dry sand in the northwest part of the state. It also is known to occur in dry clay in southern Indiana. The “pads” are actually the stems; leaves are tiny, pointed, fleshy, and early caducous. The little bunches of needles develop where the leaves fall off. The red "pears" are the floral ovaries, the pulp of which is a tasty delicacy, but extreme caution is necessary as they, too, have tiny spines. Photographed in Lake County, Indiana on February 4, 2012.

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