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).pitaya1008_1-600x800

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”

Prickly_Pear_Cactus_3_ Opuntia_littoralis_var_vaseyi_4


  1. Mari Myburgh of Durban South Africa writes: It looks just like the prickly pear you find in South Africa. Locals sell it at fruit-stalls, and you even find it in super-markets.

    1. Bob Altzar Djurdjevic replies: Very interesting… South America, Arizona, South Africa – same fruit, different names. Obviously, climatic conditions must be similar. Thanks, Mari.

      Our Prickly Pear in the Arizona desert is a much smaller cactus, no more than a couple of feet off the ground, and quite “bushy.” I’ve posted a photo above…

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