Did You Know Wild Cactus Grows In South Dakota?
We have some crazy long and cold winters here in South Dakota.
Sometimes our springs also have freezing temperatures in the evenings as well.
But cactus needs warm weather to grow in right? You can only find cactus either down south or the coastlines, right? Turns out, not all types of cactus grow in super warm climates. We have some cactus species that are actually native to the South Dakota landscape.
According to South Dakota Magazine:
"The jumping cactus is also known as brittle cactus, and probably has been called other cursed names. It's one of six species of cactus that call South Dakota home. The most common are the prickly pears, which grow with jointed segments shaped like mice ears."
Six species of cactus live here in The Mount Rushmore State! Who would have thought, huh?
In our state though these types of cactus can only be found east of the James River in the case of the brittle cactus in between rock cliffs in the Black Hills.
Lower landscapes can also grow cactus plants as well typically in places that don't stay wet for very long after a rainfall.
But how does cactus prepare for our harsh midwest winters? They go through this process called 'hardening'; which slowly prepares the plant for sub-zero temperatures.
Small rodents and birds also use the various cactus plants as burrows or nests for their young as the spines provide much-needed protection from other animals.
You could also eat and cook the cactus if you wish but good luck harvesting it without getting poked at least a couple of times!
Source: South Dakota Magazine