Prickly pear cacti typically grow with flat, rounded platyclades that are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hairlike spines called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures.
Like all true cactus species, prickly pears are native only to the Western hemisphere; however, they have been introduced to other parts of the globe. Prickly pear species are found in abundance in Mexico, especially in the central and western regions. They are also found in the Western United States, from arid regions in the Northwest, throughout the mid and lower elevations of the Rocky Mountains, and especially in the Southwest. Prickly pears are also the only types of cactus natively found to grow far east of the Great Plains states, as far northeast as Long Island, where it can be found in Northport.
1 cactus pear photo
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