I have lived in the Arizona desert for over three decades but have never seen anything like what Elizabeth and I spotted this morning outside Eagle’s Nest, our home in Scottsdale. The cactus I (trans)planted before moving to Hawaii in 2009 had produced its first fruit. It looks like a pear, but it is actually called Pitaya, I have just learned from Wikipedia. And the fruit is even edible!? (see photo – right).
And no, this is not a Prickly Pear cactus, which is quite common here in the Sonoran Desert. I have also just learned that this cactus is native to Peru (Cereus Peruvianus). Several years ago, an arm of it broke off its “parent” cactus in the back yard. So I just stuck it here in the front, under a beautiful Ironwood tree which I also planted in 2006.
Now, the transplanted cactus has grown to be probably 12 ft tall. It is growing right through the branches of the Ironwood. And on this auspicious day, Sep 22, 2013, the Fall Equinox, the cactus has given us its first ever fruit gift.
Muchos gracias, Cereus Peruvianus!
Here are a couple of photos of the Arizona Prickly Pear cactus”