This species is the only native cactus of Tennessee. Did you know the sharp spines are modified leaves, and the green pads of this plant are technically stems? The young pads can be peeled and cooked like green beans, while the pulp from these pads can be used to make candy and syrup. Large and brilliant yellow flowers appear on the top of the pads in May-June. Flowers give way to fruits that are reddish purple and persist for months after.