• Wind Cave National Park - Two Worlds

    Wind Cave

    National Park South Dakota

Cacti - Plains Pricklypear

Plains Pricklypear - Opuntia polycantha
Plains Pricklypear - Opuntia polycantha
NPS Photo by Jim Pisarowicz
Cactus with large, flattened segments covered in spines, which produces yellow/pink/red flowers and greenish fleshy fruits, called tunas. Once the spines are removed – by roasting, rubbing, or careful plucking – all parts are edible, as both Plains Indians and settlers knew. The paddles may be eaten raw but were most often fried; the fruits may be split, dried, and eaten plain or added to soups or stews, or their sweet juices turned into candies (still popular in the American Southwest.)

Did You Know?

Natural Entrance of Wind Cave

Winds caused by changes in barometric pressure are what give Wind Cave its name. These winds have been measured at the cave's walk-in entrance at over 70 mph. The winds at the natural entrance of the cave attracted the attention of Native Americans and early settlers.