As I was doing a little weeding in the onion beds, I came across this little opuntia (aka: paddle cactus or prickly pear) growing among them.
Prickly pear cactus is pretty common here. It dots the dry hillsides above the river, and Spanish settlers used it as a “living fence” for the nearby adobe villages.
Usually it spreads by rooting from a fallen paddle, but this one obvious started from seed.
The closest cactus plant is downslope about 100 yards away (coincidentally hiding among the buckwheat), so I’m assuming the scrub jays or mockingbirds carried the seeds up here.
This little baby will be moving to a container for a while, then join the other pokey and stabby natives over in the dry garden.
Opuntia Plant Profile
|Common Name||Prickly Pear, Paddle Cactus|
|Native to||North America|
|Mature Size||5-10 ft. high and 10-20 ft. wide|
|Soil Type||Any (not picky)|
|Soil pH||Any (not picky)|
|Water||Little to none|
|Bloom Time||Winter, Spring|
|Flower Color||Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow|
|Hardiness||Zones 3-9 (USDA)|