I know Prickly Pears grow throughout most of NC. I have never noticed at what time of year they fruit, however. Could anyone enlighten me?
I am having my first experience with prickly pear cactus. It was a small plant that kept getting mowed over each week in the yard. It just started blooming this week and I can let you know when it fruits. :)
I look forward to learning a little about these plants.
The fruit ripen in the fall. They are blooming now. The fruit have spines, too. Be very careful around them- those $^$%& spines will get in the darndest places and they are quite difficult to get out. Tape works sometimes, and if you really can't get one out I've found that coating the area with clear nail polish offers some protection from jarring the spine and relief.
I'm still learning about them too, but I have a TON of them growning wild on my property. I have some cool pictures of them and will post. I've heard they are almost like a weed around here but they are really pretty when they bloom. I'm thinking of transplanting some of them into a rock/cactus garden area. Am I making a mistake by doing this?
Though I believe all of them have edible fruit only certain ones have tasty fruit. Most of the 'tuna' or prickly pear fruit you buy in the ethnic grocery stores comes from the large tropical cactus which won't overwinter here in NC. I think it is most often called West Indian Fig but it has a lot of names. Oddly, some of the tastiest ones are not always purple or red, they can be any shade of green with a blush of color towards the top. The taste is kinda sour/sweet with an odd metallic tang that some people do not like. They make good jelly but you have to be careful because the juice will stain everything (hands, clothing, cookware...etc.)