What is a Mojave Prickly-Pear
Below is a transcription of the above sign found at the Valley of Fire Visitor Center.
Mojave Prickly-Pear – Opuntia phaeacantha
ADAPTATION FOR SURVIVAL
Intricate system of corky barked roots, many yards long but close to surface, quickly takes up water from shallow or penetrating rains.
Flat pads of plant covered with two kinds of spines which shade plant from full sun and discourage animals from eating.
Pads store water.
Creosote Bush Scrub
Open areas on plains and deserts
1000 to 3000 ft (320 to 1000 m)
TYPE OF SOIL
SOURCE OF WATER
3 to 5 ft (1 to 1.8 m), growing in clusters from 1 to 15 ft wide (30 to 450 cm)
Wind, insects, animal fur
Pads often gnawed by rabbits.
Fruits, called “tunas,” turn purple to mahogany color when mature, and favorites of birds and many small mammals.
They are important in the diet of desert Indians and are used commonly for jellies, syrups, and wines.