If you would've asked me this morning if I knew there was a type of cactus that can grow in Iowa, I would've had to say no. I would've assumed that the weather in Iowa isn't exactly prime cacti plant weather.

Most cacti plants are usually typically found in the southwestern part of the country. California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas all have a thriving cacti population. Did you know there is one cactus that can be found in Iowa, the Midwest, and in parts of Canada? The next time you're in your garden or walking around your property, be on the lookout for the Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus!

The Prickly Pear Cactus

The Prickly Pear Cactus is a plant that can grow in a well-drained, dry, flat, and rocky location here in Iowa. It's also possible to find this cactus on a sloped location, as this plant is extremely adaptable, according to ReImage Gardens.

The Prickly Pear is normally spotted with these bright yellow flowers that typically grow to 2-3 inches in diameter. It's also possible these flowers contain a red-colored center, according to Chesapeake Bay. The flattened pads on the Prickly Pear are usually covered with needles and it's possible for them to grow up to 6 inches tall.

The best time to possibly spot the Prickly Pear, also known as Devil's Tongue, in Iowa would be right now! According to Chesapeake Bay, this plant and its yellow flowers, normally bloom from May to July.

Once the flowers have bloomed, this plant will produce a red, cone-shaped fruit, that has seeds in it. When birds, raccoons, and opossums eat the fruit, they help to spread this plant's seeds. Bees are also attracted to this cactus, so if you've noticed an influx of bees around your garden or on your property, that could be a sign you have a Prickly Pear growing somewhere near bye.

Here's a great view of the Prickly Pear all the way up in North Dakota!


Have you spotted one of these yet this summer? Share any pictures you might have in the comments. It's never really occurred to me to be on the lookout for any kind of cacti here in Iowa but I'm definitely going to be on the lookout this summer for the Devil's Tongue cactus!

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