invasive species

Prickly Pear Cactus

And today we stop breathing. Once upon a time, there was a prickly pear cactus. It lived high up on a warm rock outcropping in a cold place, and was as happy as can be. In the spring, well, some springs, when conditions were just right, it bloomed. Here it is, blooming …

Brittle Prickly Pear Cactus Okanagan Landing

The flowers lasted for a few days, and then fell off, but while they lasted they were like finding the sun had settled like little birds at your feet. You just had to be careful not to step too close, because then you’d have prickly pear cactus climbing up your leg, and those things leave little sting holes that last for days.

Peering into the Flower

A good time to blush.

Some of the prickly pear’s flowers were yellow, some pink. And usually that would be that, but while people go about their business in the valley bottom and the grasslands are ignored, cheat grass has been moving into this dry environment and rooting in the small amounts of dust that collect underneath the cactus. In this situation, cheat grass acts as a sponge, trapping water right there where the rock should carry it away, and…

Slime Mold and a Cactus Duking it Out

Folks, this is not good.

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