5”x 5” ( Framed 9 3/4” x 9 3/4”) Embroidery Painting / Mixed Media, 2021
This piece is part of my Marfa Road-trip Series
Tulip Prickly Pear (Opuntia phaeacantha) is a member of the Cactus family. Its scientific names derive from Latin and Greek. There are two theories about the origin of Opuntia. One is that Opuntia is from the Latin root puncti for prickled. The other is that it relates to an ancient Greek town, Opus, and a plant that could be found growing there.
The flowers are very showy. They are bright yellow sometimes with reddish centers and about three inches wide. Yellowjackets, Sunflower bees and Green Skipper butterflies are attracted to them. At the end of the summer there will be oblong reddish to purple fleshy fruits that can be eaten. In fact the pads can also be eaten and both pads and fruit have been used for food and medicinal purposes for many years.
The bristles are what you have to look out for. They are tiny and can puncture the skin leading to a significant skin irritation. Always wear leather gloves when you are dealing with this or any other cactus, And believe me I have experienced it!