About Yellow

After checking on the irises last Friday, I went to hike Billy Goat A. I had one goal: get photos of eastern prickly pear cactus flowers. It wasn’t too long before I came across this underwhelming specimen. I had a look ’round and found more plants, but no more flowers. Figuring they needed another week, I hoisted the pack and continued along the trail.

And then suddenly I spotted this huge stand, blooming in the shade of a scrub pine (Pinus virginiana).




You can read more about Opuntia humifusa in this post from last August, (in which I wrote “it’s something to look forward to next summer” -success!). And read more about cacti in general in this post from March.


Many times I photograph a plant in order to show specific details, or give an accurate view of the plant for reference, so I try to get even exposure across the subject.



On this day, the flowers were glowing in the mid-morning sun, and the shadows cast by the plants heightened the effect.




All I wanted to capture was that beautiful yellow in the layers of translucent petals.




It was a busy day, so once finished I packed up the camera and headed back to the car. And then I spotted something completely new. Couldn’t get good photos (pressured for time, wind blowing, etc.), but I got enough to ID the plants later. Ends up they’re threatened and listed S1/highly state rare in Maryland. So guess what I’m doing this morning? More on that plant soon.

2 thoughts on “About Yellow

  1. Love it Elizabeth!

    These appear to be similar to the spineless Opuntia we are seeing in the Lower Patuxent area. We have not made a final determination or these yet, it appears either a spineless O. mesacantha ssp. mesacantha or O. humifusa s.s. with 3 or 4 areoles per diagonal row.

    It would be a good idea to see if any of the plants in this population have spines or five areoles per diagonal row.

    • Hi, Bill – it’s on my to-do list. I won’t have time to get out there until after Labor Day, though. Do you know if anyone’s devised a straightforward key to the new Opuntia species?

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