Visitor Center is OPEN 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Daily, Visitor Center is OPEN New Years Day.
Please drive safely! Winter driving conditions may exist on park roadways. Call 970-858-3617, Extension 402 for a current road report. Trails are covered by a few inches of snow in most locations.
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...