Photo of the Week – May 11, 2012

Can you tell what this is?

What is this?

Need a hint?

I photographed it last week in a recently-burned sand prairie along the Platte River in Nebraska.

Think you know?  Read on to find out.

This is a photo of a prickly pear cactus pad a month or so after a prescribed fire.  Typically, fire topkills cacti in our prairies, but they survive and regrow.  In fact, below this burned and discolored pad, there was a tiny little new pad starting to emerge from the ground.

Have a great weekend!

About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is an ecologist and Eastern Nebraska Program Director for The Nature Conservancy. He supervises the management and restoration of approximately 4,000 acres of land in central and eastern Nebraska - primarily along the central Platte River. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press.
This entry was posted in General, Prairie Management, Prairie Natural History, Prairie Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Photo of the Week – May 11, 2012

  1. Brodie says:

    Yep, I guessed it, because I have prickly pears in my cactus garden and have had hands full of glochids many times. Neat photo; you could submit it to a company that designs wallpaper. Heh heh.

  2. Trey Davis says:

    Thanks Chris for the great photo, question, and life history note.

  3. I, too, guessed correctly, maybe because I lived in TX for over 25 years. Only recently have I learned to describe the burning of above ground plants is described as a top kill. Always love the photographs and text.


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