Louise Clarke, Aerial Gardener
If you visited the Arboretum during Bloomfield Farm Day, perhaps you noticed these cheery yellow flowers along the lower edge of the intensive green roof.
The eastern prickly pear, Opuntia humifusa, or devil’s tongue, is a native cactus of eastern North America. The green stems are flattened into pads armed with fine spines that easily dislodge, having an affinity for passing ankles. Last year’s edible red fruits persist through spring where they contrast with this year’s lemon blooms. Requiring full sun and a well drained location, the prickly pear was planted on the lower edge of the roof to spare the horticulturists a sharp surprise when performing maintenance.