Turkey Pear for Christmas!

Tasajillo, or Turkey Pear as it is often called in South Texas, has added some new color to our drought-ridden landscape in the last few weeks.  It’s bright red fruits are enjoyed by many wildlife species, including our native Rio Grande Wild Turkeys.

Tasajillo is in the cactus family and rarely grows more than 5′ tall.  An interesting fact about this cacti is that it has very small leaves, appearing at each cluster of spines when new segments emerge (see picture below).

You’ll be more likely to find Tasajillo around Honey Mesquite and in sandy loam or clay loam soils.  It can get a bad reputation for ‘jumping’ onto your pant leg as you walk by, but as we move into the holiday season, it’s hard to dislike the fruit’s cheerful color!

For more information, check out this webpage: Rangeland Plants of Texas: Tasajillo



Thanks to Dr. Wayne Hanselka, Professor Emeritus, for providing these unique pictures of tasajillo with yellow fruit taken in La Salle County.  This may just be immature fruit or another species, such as Tuna de agua (Opuntia spathulata var. aquosa) native to Mexico.  Has anybody else observed this yellow fruit?

Photo by Dr. Wayne Hanselka

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