An iconic desert cactus is the prickly pear with green, pad-like succulent leaves that are covered in spines. These are some of the most common desert plants found in our desert. The thick, fleshy leaves store a lot of moisture, which helps the plant survive the desert ecosystem.

The prickly pear cactus also flowers in deserts when conditions are right. The yellow, purple, and red showy flowers help to give color in barren, arid landscapes. These large desert cacti can grow to between 16 and 23 ft. (5 – 7 m).