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Plant of the Week: Wisconsin’s Native Cacti

Plant of the Week! Wisconsin has a rich diversity of natural communities and ecological landscapes. Although there is no true desert here, there are sand prairies with specialized plants and animals that are adapted to the dry, hot conditions. Wisconsin is home to two species of cactus in the genus Opuntia: O. fragilis (Brittle Prickly Pear) and O. macrorhiza (Plains Prickly Pear). Both are low-growing and form mats of vegetation. Brittle Prickly Pear has pads that detach very easily; this is its main method of spreading, and can form mats up to 2 feet across. Both species produce large, showy yellow flowers during the summer. To see Prickly Pear in a unique Wisconsin environment, visit the Spring Green Preserve. This area is a combination of forest, bluff, and sand prairie, and is inhabited by a unique community of plants and animals, some of which don’t occur anywhere else in Wisconsin. To learn more about the Spring Green Preserve, visit: https://www.nature.org/…/places-we-p…/spring-green-preserve/

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