Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Cactiprunes



I've read that they're supposed to shrivel in winter, to prevent damage when it freezes. But this seems a little extreme.



Opuntia humifusa, Eastern prickly pear cactus.

It's the only cactus that's native here. I remember being really surprised the first time I ever saw one growing out in a field.

It likes poor soil - dry and rocky suits it just fine. So where it grows in our backyard is probably not a good place for flowerbeds.

When the previous owner scraped out a road and put down chert on part of the property, this cactus sprang up in sunny areas along the edges. The healthiest plants are growing in a small area that was apparently cut over as a turn-around for the trucks. Wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides) flourishes there in the spring.

16 comments:

KFarmer said...

Now that is interesting too. You have so much neat stuff growing around you :)I don't know why but when I saw it, I wondered if it was edible?

Mark said...

I see prickly pear in a lot of places at home and on the way over to Huntsville, but not actually at our house. I have never seen them wrinkled up like that.

Anonymous said...

Rurality,


Read your blog alot, responded to Edifice Rex's blog and even paid her a visit. I like your pictures, I'm from up there and remember a beautiful lichen that had gray stems and red tops. Got on the web and found it's called Cladonia deformis. You should have that all around your place, would make a great picture and post. Have a nice day and keep praying for rain.

megabeth said...

I wonder if Alabama's continued drought will be favorable for the growth of that cactus. It seems our climate is too temperate for other cacti, though. Last summer I believe I should have grown only desert plants in my garden.

robin andrea said...

It always surprises me to see cactus growing in places that are not quite desert. Here on the temperate central coast of California we see prickly pear cactus, and right now they are fruiting. You remind me that I should photograph it.

Dave said...

Surpisingly, we even have that here in Pennsylvania, where it's restricted to shale barrens and other harsh, desert-like environments.

mon@rch said...

Amazing photo and looks like something that I would accidentally back into!

Floridacracker said...

We have it here too and the fruits are delicious.

BTW, your ghost bobcat was wonderful.

pablo said...

"put down chert on part of the property"

Was that to cut holes in your tires?

We have some prickly pear at Roundrock. It grows much better on the neighbor's property though.

Rurality said...

KF, yeah the fruits are... I know you can eat the pads on certain types too, but not sure about this one. I've only had the "boughten" jelly. :)

Mark, the first time I saw them was on Little Sand Mtn!

Anon, thanks! I haven't ever seen that particular one, but I had a pic of the very similar Cladonia cristatella not long ago. Click here.

Beth, I know what you mean! I actually had a dream last night that we'd planted veggies again, and the weather was just the same as last year.

RA, ours fruited quite a while back! I meant to take a pic then but forgot.

Dave, I read that they are even up in Ontario, but I think they're uncommon there. Interesting that it's just the one species that adapted to living in the east.

Tom, ha! Though they do get tall, all of ours are short ground-huggers.

FC, thanks! I'll expect a post about eating cacti later on from you. :)

Pablo, nah... got to make the nearby "Chert Mountain" live up to its name though.

Shady Gardener said...

These cacti are interesting, aren't they? And they seem to grow in some of the most unlikely areas. We found them growing in Wyoming alongside the road once. Brought them home to Iowa and they flourished. ;-) They're difficult to weed around, however!

Pamela said...

you need to hop over and sign up atwildflowers in winter

This is the type of post she is looking for her theme!!!

misti said...

Wow, I've never seen that before! Very cool! And weird!

Rurality said...

SG, ha! I never would have thought about how difficult it owuld be to weed around. :) I imagine that's why so many Arizona gardens have rocks for mulch.

Thanks, Pamela, I'll check it out!

Thanks, Misti!

. . . Dallas Meow . . . . >^^< . . . said...

you always have the most interesting photos . . .

lené said...

That's really cool. I've never seen a cactus do that--and what amazing textures the shriveling creates (great material for artful photographs). :)