Prickly Pear in Bloom

The prickly pear is a succulent in the Opuntia genus of plants, and contains several species that are indigenous to the Rocky Mountains. Both the paddles and fruit are edible; the paddles are often grilled or boiled, and the fruit can be used in making candy, jam and syrup. Some animals, such as prairie dogs and antelope, use the prickly pear as a food source. I chose this cactus as the subject for my sculpture not only because of my love for its beautiful flowers, but to show the appeal and allure of local plant life. The 182 LEDs that make the flowers glow are solar powered, further highlighting sustainability. The lights come on in the evening around dusk when they can best be seen after a day of basking in the bright Colorado sunshine.