Rim Rock Drive is OPEN - Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rim Rock Drive is OPEN Be on the lookout for Desert Bighorn Sheep along Rim Rock Drive. There also may be minor traffic delays near the East Entrance over the coming weeks. Watch for construction flaggers on the roadway.
Purple Fruited Prickly Pear
Purple-Fruited Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia phaeacantha var. phaeacantha)
Other Names: tulip prickly pear
Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Description: a spreading, mat-forming cactus growing up to 2 feet tall. Purplish pads are up to 6 inches long, with spines up to 2 inches covering only the upper half of the pad. Yellow flowers appear in May to June, with purple fruits present by late July.
Range: occurs from California to Kansas and south to Texas. Look for it growing throughout Colorado National Monument and in surrounding areas.
Did you know: the purple fruit for which the purple-fruited prickly pear is named is as sweet as the more familiar apple or pear. The fruit of the prickly pear may make a delicious treat for the knowledgeable hiker, but watch out-the fruit, which often bears thorns, is also a favorite snack of coyotes.
Did You Know?
Desert bighorn sheep are considered a separate subspecies from their rocky mountain bighorn cousins. After many generations in a land of little rain, desert bighorns have adapted a special talent for lasting several days without water. More...