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Best time to travel to Texas

Blooming Cactuses

The arid scenery of West Texas comes alive with unexpectedly colorful blooms

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Cactuses are beautiful all year round. However, in the spring they can surprise us with lavish yellow, red and pink blooms that look simply amazing. From Hill Country to Western deserts, these native plants of Texas start to burst with colors in April and stay beautiful through May or sometimes even in June if they are lucky to get some rain.

Prickly pear or the yellow rose of Texas is perhaps the most recognizable of all local cacti. The state plant grows all over the Hill Country and especially in the Highland Lakes region. It's also abundant in the south-western part of the state. It usually blooms with yellow, yellow-orange, and sometimes even red and white flowers. Prickly pear cactus is not only beautiful but also edible. A staple of Southwestern cuisine can be consumed raw or boiled to make juice, jelly, or even wine.

Horse crippler or echinocactus texensis is a large round cactus that is about 12 inches (30 cm) in diameter. It is known for surprisingly gentle pink or peach blooms that usually appear in the late spring. Hedgehog cactus, also known as echinocereus triglochidiatus, is a popular variety that many people grow in their homes. It blooms in late May or early June with fiery red or pink flowers. A small nipple cactus or the pineapple cactus is just 6 inches (15 cm) wide. It's an early bloomer that shows off a large single yellow flower in March. This species is common for the whole state, from north to south. Yucca cacti can be also seen everywhere in Texas, especially when they bloom with tall clusters of cream flowers in May.

Cholla is another beautiful cactus that looks more like a tree and can reach 8ft (2.4 m) in height. It's common for West Texas and blooms with perfect hot pink flowers in May and early June.

The Big Bend National Park is the best place to spot blooming cactuses in West Texas. The area by the Rio Grande gets especially scenic in the spring. Guadalupe Mountains National Park is another excellent spot. You can also find an abundance of native plants at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin.

Last updated: by Olga Valchyshen