Southwestern Deserts

October, 2009
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

Chenille Prickly Pear Cactus
Some prickly pear glochids are barely noticeable. Others create noticeable polka dots of color and texture on the plant, such as the reddish brown glochids covering the deceptively named chenille prickly pear (Opuntia aciculata). They may look soft and fuzzy (like a chenille bathrobe), but the glochids irritate if they beome embedded in your skin. This prickly pear is native to Texas and neighboring regions of Mexico. It spreads in clumps about 3 feet tall and wide, takes full sun and is drought tolerant. It blooms in spring. Flowers may be yellow, orange, or red.

Clever Gardening Technique

Removing Glochids from your Skin
If cactus glochids get stuck in your skin, try one of these removal methods:

1. Use tweezers (and magnifying glass). Glochids are easier to see and grasp if you are able to examine the affected area horizontally (e.g., hold your hand up to your eye and look across) rather than looking straight down.

2. Spread household glue on the area, let it dry and then peel it off.
Or spread glue, press gauze on top, wait for it to dry and pull. Or press tape on the area and pull it off.

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