Pricklypear, also called Indian fig, is the only widespread eastern cactus. It retains moisture in its thick pads and is able to survive in very dry environments. It produces a showy flower and edible fruit.
Songbirds and small mammals seek shelter in spiny dens surrounded by the plant’s stems and pads. Raccoons and gopher tortoises have been seen eating the pads and fruits. Pricklypear fruit and seeds are consumed by quail, wild turkey, doves, thrashers and woodpeckers, along with many mammals, such as fox, squirrel and rabbit. White-tailed deer use the plants as a springtime browse.
Source: UF 4H Forest Resources
Clicked at Oscar Scherer State Park