All year long, cacti are gorgeous. However, they can astonish us in the spring with abundant yellow, red, and pink blossoms that are quite stunning. These native Texas plants, which may be found everywhere from the Hill Country to the Western deserts, begin to bloom in color in April and continue to be stunning through May or, if they are lucky, even into June.
Of all the native cactus, prickly pear or the yellow rose of Texas may be the most well-known. The state flower is abundant across the Hill Country, but is particularly abundant in the Highland Lakes area. The southwest region of the state also has a lot of it. It typically has yellow, yellow-orange, and occasionally even red and white flowers in bloom. In addition to being attractive, prickly pear cacti are also edible. A common ingredient in Southwestern food can be eaten raw or cooked to produce juice, jelly, or even wine.
Echinocactus texensis, often known as the horse crippler, is a sizable round cactus with a circumference of around 12 inches (30 cm). It is well renowned for its surprisingly delicate pink or peach blossoms, which often start to bloom in the late spring.
Echinocereus triglochidiatus, often known as the hedgehog cactus, is a common type that many people plant indoors. It has bright red or pink flowers that bloom in late May or early June.
The pineapple cactus, also known as a little nipple cactus, is just 6 inches (15 cm) broad. In March, this early bloomer displays a sizable solitary yellow blossom. From north to south, this species is widespread over the entire state. There are Yucca cactus all around Texas, especially in May when they bloom with tall clusters of cream blooms.
Another lovely cactus that resembles more of a tree and grows up to 8 feet (2.4 meters) tall is the cholla. It is widespread in West Texas and blooms in May and early June with exquisite hot pink flowers.
In West Texas, the Big Bend National Park is the greatest location to see blooming cactuses. In the spring, the region beside the Rio Grande is very beautiful. Another great location is Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Additionally, Austin’s Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center has a large collection of native flora.
Does Texas have any cacti?
The largest variety of cacti species can be found in Texas, which has over 100 different types. Many are better known by their less scientific names, such as blind pear, cow-tongue cactus, night-blooming cereus, Texas rainbow, tree cactus, early bloomer, and devil’s head, which they were given because their hard spines are harmful to the horses’ and cattle’s hooves. More names for many other species include strawberry cactus, pincushion, and jumping jack. In Texas, cacti are used as food, as landscaping, and in both public and private botanical collections. Prickly pear pads, or nopalitos, with their spines burned off, create a substantial fodder for cattle and form a minor mainstay in Tex-Mex cuisine. The tunas, or seed pods, are used in salads, wines, and jam. Other cacti are used to produce pharmaceuticals, confectionery, and food coloring. Cacti are helpful in gardens and as shrubs due to their climate adaptability and simplicity of cultivation; also, their distinctive forms and multicolored flowers, which range in shade from green and white to magenta and purple, draw a lot of collectors. The smallest cacti are called button cacti and are about the size of a dime. The largest cacti are called barrel or fishhook cacti and can weigh up to half a ton or more.
Ten genera are represented by the cactus in Texas:
Echinocereus genus. Echino-, which means “spiny,” alludes to this genus’ extremely prickly exterior, and cereus, which means “wax candle,” to the regal aspect of its erect members. Oval, conical, or cylindrical cacti, echinocerei always have ribbed stems. The blossoms are typically big and stunning, although others have tiny, unnoticeable greenish flowers. The fruits are always juicy, have thin skin, and are frequently edible. They also have spines, however as the fruits ripen, the spines get looser and can be easily brushed off. The Echinocerei thrive mostly in exposed areas on barren hills and slopes that receive the full force of the southwest sun.
Family Wilcoxia. This genus typically has five species, four of which are found in Mexico and one in South Texas. The cactus have thin stems that are hardly more than five-eighths of an inch in diameter. The spines are only a quarter inch length or less. The flower is diurnal, huge, and gorgeous. It has a bell- or funnel-shaped bloom. The ovary surface is woolly, scaly, and coated in spines that resemble bristles or hairs that stay on the fruits.
Peniocereus genus. The “thread cereus” cacti all have thin stems and a massive, meaty taproot from which stems that are initially ribbed but eventually circular grow. They all have nocturnal, fragrant flowers that are formed from within the spine areole, as well as very small stem spines and hard fruit spines.
Acanthocereus genus. The “acanthus candle” genus contains roughly a dozen species. These are erect, more or less shrubby plants that rely on other plants for support because they can’t bear their own weight for very long. Supported stems can reach heights of twenty feet. All stems range in diameter from one to four inches, and mature stems contain three to seven noticeable ribs. The ovary is typically spiky, and the flowers are big, white, and bloom at night. The semiarid coastal plains appear to be the greatest habitat for these tropical lowland cactus, which are never far from the coast. Compared to most cactus, they can withstand a lot more wetness, and when water is plentiful, they grow quite quickly. Although the roots may regenerate, a light frost will kill the tips of the stems, and a temperature of 32 F will kill the entire plant above the ground. The Acanthocerei live in peril in the coasts of South Texas and Florida in the United States.
Echinocactus species. The majority of the barrel cacti, or members of this genus, have numerous, sharp, hard spines. Some members of the genus are spineless, while others have more slender and flexible spines. The barrels come in various sizes, from large ones weighing several hundred pounds to little ones barely a few inches tall. There are eight to twenty vertical or spiraling ribs on the outside. There is no identifiable floral tube in the flowers, which are produced at or near the top of the plant. The ovary has scales and occasionally wool but no spines.
the Lophophora genus. The “crest-bearers,” or small, globose or depressed globose cactus, that make up this genus grow from rather large, carrot-shaped taproots. The stem is around three inches in diameter and is just two inches tall. Large clusters of stems can be solitary or branch out from the base. Surfaces are often glaucous and blue-green. After the early seedling stage, the plants are spineless. Flat and wide ribs are present. The blooms are small, bell-shaped, and come in a variety of colors. The areoles are small and spherical with long white to yellowish wool that frequently persists. The ovary and fruit of this genus are both completely bare, however the fruit is invariably meaty. They have ribbed stems. Instead of the axils, monomorphic areoles create the blooms at the tip of developing tubercles. This genus contains peyote.
Ariocarpus species. One species of this minor genus exists in Texas, and the others are found in Mexico. One or occasionally several low, flattened stems, measuring two inches in diameter to ten inches in width, make up the plant’s body. The larger species can grow to a height of five inches, whilst the lesser species may not extend over the ground’s surface. A sizable taproot that like a carrot is on top of the stem. Very distinct, typically imbricated but noncoalescent tubercles are divided up on the stem’s surface. After the initial seedling growth, there are no spines. The fact that this genus blooms in the fall makes it unique. Flowers are diurnal, wide-opening, white, yellowish, or purplish in color. Both the ovary and the fruit are bare. When the fruit reaches maturity, it turns dry and crumbles, leaving the seeds inside the plant’s center’s wool. The fruit is initially juicy.
Epithelantha species. There are several species of this genus that are found in Mexico, but only one of them is found in the United States. The entire stem is covered with countless, incredibly small tubercles, which are reportedly the smallest tubercles of any American cactus. There are many small spines that almost completely obscure these from view. The longer, converging points of the longer spines obscure the growing tip of the stem, which is a prominent depression filled with a lot of wool that resembles hair, making it difficult to see how the tubercles, areoles, and flowers develop. The fact that this cactus develops its flowers at the top of the tubercle rather than in the axil of the tubercle is another peculiar feature of it. Contrary to what was previously thought, this cactus does not create its flower inside a monomorphic spine areole. The meristem is split into a distinct, indeterminate floral or vegetative meristem and a determinate spiny part before the bloom is developed.
Mammillaria species. Small or extremely small creatures make up this genus. Different species’ stems can be depressed and nearly flat, globular, or even occasionally columnar, and are frequently referred to as heads. One of them occasionally becomes a significant cluster of heads, whereas in many other species they multiply from the base to become caespitose. In certain species, these stay singular. Occasionally, branches from higher up the stem may sprout in a few species. A system of tubercles, which resemble nipple-like projections, completely covers each stem. These are typically arranged in spiral rows, however occasionally they are not as tightly structured. The bases of the tubercles are occasionally more or less quadrangular, however they are often cylindrical or conical.
Opuntia species. The common consensus is that this enormous genus is more primitive than the others. Opuntias are the only cactus found in more than half of the states in the United States, supporting the assertion that cacti are present practically everywhere in the country. Jointed stems, cylindrical or conical leaves on young stems, glochidia (barbed hairs or spines), the production of spreading, rotated flowers with more or less sensitive stamens and with aeroles that frequently produce glochidia and spines on the ovaries, as well as the presence of these traits, are characteristics. The rinds of the fruits are thick.
In Texas, where can I find saguaro cacti?
I appreciate reading your magazine and do so every week. However, I feel compelled to draw attention to a major inaccuracy in your March 22 publication. Saguaro cactus are depicted in the graphics that go with the article about the Texas cancer researchers. Only in the Sonoran deserts of western Sonora, Mexico, and southern Arizona, along with a few stray specimens in California, do saguaro cactus flourish. Texas does not have saguaro cacti. Contrary to popular belief, the saguaro doesn’t just grow in the west. Because of the cactus’ particularity to Arizona, the saguaro cactus blossom has been designated as the state flower of the state. I believed it necessary to alert you to this error.
Where can I find a large cactus?
The biggest cactus in the country
- Two plants that can be found in the Sonoran Desert are the ocotillo (left) and saguaro (right).
- Arizona’s Saguaro National Park is situated just west of Tucson.
- Growing safely behind a lush paloverde nurse tree is a juvenile saguaro cactus.
- blooming Saguaro cactus.
Where can you find prickly pear cacti in Texas?
Texas prickly pears can be found up to 4600 feet in elevation in the drier regions of South and Central Texas, Mexico, and infrequently in the Trans-Pecos and potentially into New Mexico. It is a heavy-bodied, thicket-forming cactus with a distinct cylindrical trunk that can grow up to 3 1/2 feet tall or be prostrate. The joints are up to 11 inches long, green to bluish green, obovate to orbicular, occasionally asymmetrical, flat, waxy, juicy, and densely tufted with tiny yellow to brown barbed glochids. Typically translucent, golden or creamy white, but occasionally dark or black, are the spines. Some types lack a spine. June brings forth bowl-shaped flowers that can be red or yellow before turning orange. Typically, a plant only produces one color of blossom. The tuna, which ranges in size and form, ripens from July to September. Its crimson to purple fruit has a thin skin, a thick rind, and tufts of glochids that are dispersed throughout. The tunas are consumed raw or processed into preserves, syrups, fermented juice, tuna cheese (queso al tuna), and a beverage to treat gallstones. Texas prickly pear has long been used as a source of food. The sap is used to make commercial alcohol, and the delicate, immature joints are applied topically to decrease swelling. Also used in the creation of candles is the joint juice. The joints of the spines are burnt to make cow food. The older pads contain oxalic acid, which can be poisonous if consumed in excess. Of course, a lot of wildlife and birds eat the fruit. According to a myth, the coyote uses his tail to clean the fruit of its spines before eating it.
Is it forbidden to pluck cacti in Texas?
at Texas. Texas state law stipulates that anyone planning to collect cacti on private property must first have the landowner’s prior written consent. Keep in mind that removing anything from private property without permission is considered vandalism at the very least and theft at the very most!
Texas has large cacti, right?
If you’re a native Texan who has been to any northern section of the country and encountered a local who asked where you’re from, you’ve probably already encountered this inquiry: “So did you ride your horse to school?
I’m a native Texan who attended college for two years in Iowa. You have no idea how frequently people ask me questions like this! “Well, did you ride your tractor to school? “, I would ask. I was shocked to learn that Iowa actually had a “driving your tractor to school day.” Stereotypes are not all created equal.
The Saguaro Cactus
One of the MANY clichés we Texans encounter on a daily basis is that of transportation by horse. There is one Texas stereotype that I guarantee the majority of you reading this have never heard of or even knew existed! The saguaro cactus, that is.
Not Native but Still Here
But the saguaro cactus tale is more complicated than you might realize, and it may be the biggest botanical myth ever. It turns out that Texas is not the saguaro cactus’ native habitat. Professor Kendall Gerdes from Texas Tech University started the campaign to eradicate the use of this well-known stereotype by posing the question, “Why do Texans utilize saguaro cacti as a symbol of all things Texas when they don’t grow here?” to West Texas Wonders.
Only the Sonoran Desert in Southern Arizona, along with some areas of California and New Mexico, is home to the saguaro cactus. The saguaro, which is pronounced “sah-wah-roh,” is the biggest cactus in the country and has a lifespan of more than 200 years. It’s simple to see why this cactus has gained such notoriety and notoriety throughout the years, particularly when it comes to desert-like environments like West Texas.
Even little Texas towns like Dryden have planted and grown their own private supply of the famous Saguaro cactus! Therefore, even though it is not native to Texas, there are examples of it growing in our lovely state.
A New Prickly Hero Emerges
It might be time, nevertheless, for Texans to honor our actual native cactus companion, the prickly pear!
In addition to making a fantastic margarita flavor, prickly pears are also the most typical cactus in Texas. This cactus, which is sometimes referred to as the “original yellow rose of Texas, blooms lovely yellow flowers that are reminiscent of Spanish roses and eventually develop into tasty red fruit called “tuna.” The fruit and the pads are both edible. The prickly pear cactus was declared the state plant of Texas on May 25, 1995, yet it has yet to gain the respect and reputation it really deserves.
Perhaps it’s time to formally replace the saguaro as the iconic, recognizable cacti for the wonderful state of Texas with the prickly pear, just like we’ve done with the other notorious Texas clichés.
The prickly pear’s “…position as both a vegetable and a fruit make it singularly qualified to embody the tenacious and unique Texas character as an official state symbol,” according to our state senate, best explains it.