Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus: Opuntia humifusa

This cactus is also called “Indian Fig” or “Devil’s-tongue”. It is a native cactus of Georgia and it is found in many parts of eastern North America.

These cacti form an open, low-growing mat of flattened stems, so called pads. The cactus spines are modified leaves. In spring the pads of eastern prickly pear stand upright but seem to deflate as winter approaches giving a stand of the cactus a withered, flat-growing appearance. Its flowers are yellow petals, often with orange-red throats, developing into pale magenta fruits by autumn.

It is found normally in well-drained inland prairies or coastal back dunes, i.e. on Stone Mountain in Metro Atlanta. The fruits and the green pads can be cooked as vegetable.

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Atlanta Expat