Pancake Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia chlorotica)

Pancake Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia chlorotica)

The Pancake Prickly Pear cactus (Opuntia chlorotica) is a beautiful site, with its broad, flat paddles, and its large tree-like “trunk.” This cactus can grow up to 7-foot tall. Usually found in southern-most Nevada, the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran, as well as areas in the Mojave National Preserve. Their habitat is usually well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils.

Like other types of prickly pear cactus, the pancake prickly produces the prickly pear fruit. This fruit can be eaten once peeled and the spines removed. Today, jams, jellies and candies are the most popular way to consume the prickly pair fruit.

It Mexico the prickly pear fruit has been used for thousands of years to make an alcoholic beverage called colonche. You can purchase as an import both Tungi Spirit and Bajtra, both are a form of colonche.

The pads are also consumable, they have been used in traditional Mexican food for hundreds of years. They are high in fiber, vitamins A, C and calcium.

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.