Do you like prickly cactus?
I have a few favorites, one being santa-rita prickly pear (Opuntia violaceae var. santa rita). The color contrast of their blue-grey pads and the shades of purple are so striking in the landscape.
This cactus makes a beautiful accent plant for the landscape. Both the pads and fruit are edible, (but you might want to remove the spines first ;-). Cold temperature and drought intensify the purple color.
Lovely yellow flowers appear in spring followed by red fruit in the summer months. Javelina, rabbits and pack rats will sometimes eat the pads. Pack rats use the pads to make their homes.
Many people believe that the appearance of white, cotton-like areas on the pads is a sign of a fungal infection. However, it is caused by a small insect that secretes the white cottony mass, called cochineal scale. Control is straightforward – simply spray off it with a strong jet of water from the hose – that’s it!