Friday, April 22, 2011

What's blooming: Prickly pear cactus

When you live in a semi-arid climate as we do in south central Texas, you can always count on the succulents to display their hearty blossoms even in times of drought.

Most of our property was once covered in cactus.

The Prickly Pear Cactus is abundant in our region of the country and provides much more than a spring show of blossoms. In times of severe drought, it can be a life-saving source of nourishment for cattle and other livestock. 

As these photos show, our cactus blooms in shades of red, orange and yellow. Over the years, hubby has curtailed their habitat to the perimeter of our property where man and beast rarely tread. Rather good for security, too!

For foodies like me, cactus (generally called nopales in our Mexican-influenced local culture) is a great addition to a meal.

I'm particularly fond of a dish called Pollo con napales (chicken with cactus). The recipe calls for canned cactus, but if you have access to fresh, it is far, far better. Napales are not hot or spicy, but the jalapeno in the recipe definitely provides a swift kick to the taste buds.

Another treat for the senses is blooming now as well.

Lovely Confederate Jasmine (above left), planted last year by hubby, is beginning its climb up the back fence and providing sweet aromas for man, hummingbirds and bees to appreciate.

Gold Yarrow (above right) has taken center stage in my Cottage Garden. It is the perennial sunshine among my plantings of blue and pink flowers and will bloom from now through November.


Krystina said...

Cactis in bloom can be so pretty! They are a tasty treat too, so let's make sure to have a dish when we are back in Texas sometime.