heart_cactusWhile on one of our early morning outings, we spotted this beautiful pad on this big, colorful purple prickly pear, Optuntia violaceae var. santa rita. Note the lack of cochineal on any part of the  plant. We’re guessing that’s because it isn’t stressed – a bit shaded so it gets filtered sunlight and it is in an area where other plants are on drips so it’s getting some moisture.

It is a beautiful plant – the purplish tones are wonderful in the landscape – but the real joy in this particular plant is its heart-shaped pad. Clearly, a gift. Enjoy!