Many beautiful cactus come from South America. Echinopsis calochlora is native to Brazil. It's globular body is light, bright green, with golden spines, and fragrant pure white, 4 inch diameter flowers. This wild echinopsis rivals any hybrid, repeat blooming from late spring to early fall. The flowers open in the late afternoon, or early evening, and last until the heat of the next day. These cactus grow easily on a sunny window sill, and can also spend summers in a protected spot outdoors.
Prickly pears are often considered undesirable plants, and are treated as weeds. They are commonly found growing in pastures, fields, and scrublands of the Texas panhandle. Sometimes, they even come up in our yards. Our two most common varieties are opuntia macrorhiza and opuntia phaecantha. Opuntia phaecantha's growth is upright, and macrorhiza is lower and sprawling. They usually have yellow flowers, or yellow with red centers.
Prickly pears are well known for their hooked spines and glochids, which can hurt if you come in contact with them. Despite their spiny pads, they have a natural beauty and great endurance in our sometimes harsh environment. They can survive our cold winters, hot summers, and the panhandle's intense afternoon sun. Their water requirements are less than most cultivated plants. I planted opuntia macrorhiza, about five years ago, in a large planter, in the middle of our rock garden. They have bloomed without fail every spring. Their golden yellow blossoms become attractive red fruits in the fall and winter months. They need little care. Water during extended dry spells, and fertilize in the spring and early summer to keep them happy.