• 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?

Prairie Dog Barking

Lewis and Clark, while on their journey up the Missouri River in 1804, noted that this "wild dog of the prairie...appears here in infinite numbers." More...