Prickly pear are everywhere in my area of California, dotting hillsides and roadsides. They are really quite beautiful – from a distance – but also a wonderful food source. The pears are sweet when ripe, with a deep red fruit. The paddles are also edible, but a bit bland, and are used in making nopales. To eat a prickly pear requires a prickly pear, a pair of gloves to pick what you want, and a fire or blow torch to remove the thorns, which are long and pointy. I don’t go out harvesting, but I always enjoy photographing these cacti. Oh, and before the pears show up, the flowers are really beautiful.