The flowers on the Engelmann Prickly Pear (Opuntia engelmannii) come in late March to late April, and last just one day. Once spent, the flowers then form edible fruit called pears. The flowers can be yellow, yellow-orange, or orange-yellow. This year the flowers on my cactus have far more orange in them than in previous years. I have no idea causes this color variation from year to year.
Engelmann Prickly Pear is an important food source for a variety of wildlife who feed on the flowers, fruit, and even the pads. The fruit ripens in July and August, and the birds and beetles devour the ripest pears in just a few days. Javelina, deer, desert tortoises, and rabbits do not have access to my garden, but if they did, they too would snack on the ripe pears
Engelmann Prickly Pear is the most common of the prickly pear cactus found in the Sonoran Desert. More information on this cactus is available in some of my previous posts.