EFN INTRODUCTION. Nate found a population of prickly pear cacti growing near the entrance to a beach in the Willoughby Spit neighborhood of Norfolk, Virginia. The fruit are relatively large for a cold-hardy pickly pear, and they are quite thick-walled (with relatively few seeds), which is an unusual characteristic for this type of prickly pear. The walls are tasty and would probably make great jam or candy. Nate quite enjoyed their taste raw as well. Just watch out for glochids (the miniscule, barbed spines that are on the surface of the fruit in little brown pads). Handle with gloves reserved for the purpose. The plants and fruit resemble the Vineland Hardy Prickly Pear we also sell, but the fruit of this variety have a much thicker wall and fewer seeds. Virginia is at the northern part of the range of a species commonly known as Opuntia stricta, but we are not sure if this is that species, or a hybrid, or something else. Prickly pear genetics can get quite confusing. Let us know how they do for you!
This year's seed was harvested by our Ujamaa Cooperative Farming Alliance friend and colleague Alexis Yamashita. Thanks Alexis!