|Prickly pear cactus with a view: from a Hidden Valley slope over Huffaker Hills to Mt. Rose Wilderness/Carson Range|
The local low-growing variety starts its bloom with pinkish flower buds that open to yellow flowers. The typically paddle-shaped pads are green with medium to long spines.
|Prickly pear cactus flower and flower buds|
|Spiny pads: prickly pear nopals with spine work|
In future, you may encounter prickly pears not only as indivual plants next to your favorite desert trail, but in cultivated communities across an agriculturally expanding desert.
Keywords: wild opuntia, cultivated opuntia, food source, pharmacology, agronomy, renewable energy, biodiesel, bioengineering.
References and more to research
 Sigma-Aldrich: Nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica) [http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/life-science/nutrition-research/learning-center/plant-profiler/opuntia-ficus-indica.html]
 Bruce Dorminey: Prickley Pear Cactus: Nuisance of Bioenergy Opportunity? Renewable Energy World.Com, Tuesday, June 30, 2015 [www.renewableenergyworld.com/articles/2014/01/prickly-pear-cactus-nuisance-or-bioenergy-opportunity.html]
 UNR Reserches Sustainable Alternatives to Fossil Fuels. The Nevada Sagebrush. Tuesday, February 4, 2014; page A1.
 Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station: Development Of Prickly Pear Cactus As A Low-Water Biofuel/Biomass Feedstock [www.cabnr.unr.edu/research/research_project.aspx?GrantID=705].