In 2009, after the 2007 Santiago Fire, Irvine Ranch Conservancy’s Habitat Restoration and Enhancement team planted 14,000 cactus pads and 90 potted cactus in an effort to restore damaged habitat. After about 10 years, the IRC team found that cacti planted as pads were almost a meter high at sites with lower weeds and the plants were also more successful on steeper, south facing slopes.
Prickly pear cactus plays an important role in Orange County’s wildlands, serving as a food source for native animals, as well as shelter for a variety of rodents, reptiles and birds. The cactus wren, a native bird species to southern California, relies on native plants like the prickly pear cactus for nesting, as well as a form of protection from predators.
The prickly pear cactus was a highlight at this year’s IRC Volunteer and Partner Celebration as a way to shine light on this vital native species. Attendees enjoyed a prickly pear cactus themed event with prickly pear tea, candy, bandanas and more. Organizations like the Orange County Cactus & Succulent Society were in attendance to help put the prickly pear cactus-themed event together. To learn more about the Orange County Cactus & Succulent Society, visit OCCSS.org.
For more information about native plants on the Landmarks, visit IRConservancy.org or follow the Landmarks on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.