Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More red from Inks Lake

with 19 comments

At the same place in Inks Lake State Park on November 29th where Virginia creeper vines announced their presence by turning bright red, Eve noticed and drew my attention to a nest in a prickly pear cactus (Opuntia sp.) It provided a deep red via its tunas, which is what the fruits of this kind of cactus are called in Spanish and increasingly even in English (they’re the supposed “pears” in “prickly pears”). One tuna on a different pad was in fact a twin tuna. Here’s a view looking straight down at that pear pair:


⬅︎               ➡︎

Linguistics professor John McWhorter‘s book Woke Racism was recently released. I encourage you to watch an excellent 18-minute summary of the book via a PBS interview of McWhorter by Walter Isaacson.

© 2021 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 21, 2021 at 4:30 AM

19 Responses

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  1. That’s a lovely desert Christmas tree!! 🎄😀


    December 21, 2021 at 9:30 AM

  2. I can’t remember seeing a twin tuna. Finding that, and the nest, must have been a twin delight. I especially enjoyed seeing the tunas’ texture, and the plumpness of the pricky pear suggests the area still is getting plenty of moisture. The tunas’ color is especially nice.


    December 22, 2021 at 8:23 AM

    • A couple of decades ago I began referring to prickly pear fruits that had turned a dark red color as ruby tunas. No question but that the sound of the Rolling Stones’ title “Ruby Tuesday” influenced me. In addition to the texture of the twin tuna, the other day I got a good chance to document the textures in decaying prickly pear pads and their inner structure.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2021 at 8:46 AM

      • You’ve provided some great images of the prickly pear’s interior before. This is the one that first came to mind.


        December 22, 2021 at 8:57 AM

    • I think I’ve occasionally seen twin tunas, but not often. I did a Google image search just now for “twin tuna prickly pear” and the only actual twin that turned up in the hits was the one from this post.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2021 at 8:50 AM

  3. Thick stands of prickly pear make great protective fencing. Tunas.. gotta love ’em.


    December 22, 2021 at 9:15 AM

    • In Mexico people create cactus fences. They also eat tunas, both as fruit and turned into jelly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2021 at 9:23 AM

  4. I like the pear pair. Or should that be twin tunas?


    December 22, 2021 at 5:43 PM

    • You don’t have to pare the word pairs down to just one. Each pair is a peer of the other.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 22, 2021 at 7:46 PM

      • It’s good to know that pairs don’t have to be pared and can be peers.


        December 22, 2021 at 10:37 PM

        • And it’s good to know that pair is etymologically the same word as the peer who is your equal. Pare is a different word, but the pare in compare is yet another variant of pair and peer.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 23, 2021 at 6:22 AM

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