Pancake Prickly Pear
Mojave Desert; Sonoran Desert
The pads of this prickly pear are almost perfectly round, giving rise to its common name. It is usually found growing on very steep hillsides and is widespread throughout much of the Southwest. The Pancake Prickly-pear is an erect shrub or small tree, 3-8 ft. tall and almost as broad, with a stout trunk and ascending branches. Pads are grey green or blue green in color, between 5 and 8 inches long. The flowers are yellow and followed by fleshy, purple-tinged fruit. Its areoles contain numerous yellow glochids and several golden spines. Spines may be largely or completely absent, however, but the large glochids are always present to greater or lesser extent. This prickly pear makes a very attractive ornamental. It blooms in spring.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.