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Re-Establishing Eastern Prickly Pear Connecticut

Keegan Day
2 months ago
last modified: 2 months ago

Our members in New England likely know of the Eastern Prickly pear "Opuntia humifusa" which is native to the Atlantic states from Florida to Cape cod (among others westward). Its native range was once much larger in Connecticut (one spanning the entire coastline and some areas somewhat more inland on the CT river) but due to development, much of its habitat has been destroyed now it sparsely populates areas from Greenwich west to Old Lyme. I do a lot of fishing and such at beaches more on the eastern part of CT and often visit beaches like Rocky Neck, East point in Groton and plenty of others. I plan on finding a source of prickly pear pads (my own are still young) and finding some out of the way areas at these preserves and beaches to plant them, helping to re-establish new colonies.... They spread quickly after a few years and I should hope this would help as they are a species of special concern. I should wonder where I should get pads, would it be wise to take them from cultivated plants, or should I stick with finding ones in habitat to pluck the pads from to avoid mixing cultivated clones in a wild setting.....

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