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Brittle Prickly Pear Cactus

Although other cacti can grow here in your garden, the Brittle Prickly Pear cactus is the only cactus species native to the Okanagan! Folks often think of cacti as hot, dry, desert plants but can you guess how far north our Prickly-pear cactus is found? Kamloops? Williams Lake!? Prince George!?!?

Prickly-pears grow naturally in the wild as far north as Fort St John!! Their ability to shrivel and "hibernate" throughout the winter allows them to survive the cold weather without freezing and dying.

Did you know that the spines found on cacti are actually modified leaves? Trading in leaves for spines is a smart choice in dry environments because it helps to minimize moisture loss. Spines also help in the dispersal of the plant to new areas. When an animal brushes up against a prickly pear cactus, the spines embed into the animal, and a segment of the plant breaks off to hitch hike to its new home where it falls off and sets roots.

Photo Credit: Valerie Blow


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