|Prickly Pear Cactus clump, June 2014|
In Kansas, the prickly pear cactus appears throughout the state. In eastern Kansas it grows on rocky and sandy soil. In woods, cactus may grow under trees if there is enough sun. In the west, cactus grows in sandy soil. Patches of cacti may appear in short-grass pasture. The cactus blossoms in June. Its flower is all yellow to yellow and red. The ripe cactus fruit is red.
The cactus leaf has the appearance of a spiny paddle. The thorns protect the plants from predators. Cacti are fleshy plants that store water. This makes them an excellent food source for deer and birds in time of drought.
Read H.A. Stephans, The Cacti of Kansas.
Please don't pick the cacti because they have a hard enough time surviving predators.