Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa) is the only cactus that is widespread in the eastern United States. It forms in low, wide mounds and thrives in full sun in dry, sandy, well-drained soil. The flat, fleshy, green pads are covered with barbed thistles, and in the spring it produces bright yellow flowers often with red centers. Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus produces a reddish fruit after flowering, and the fruit, along with most parts of the cactus, is edible. Many animals use this cactus for cover due to its shape, low-growing habit, and protective barbs, and the fruit provides food for a variety of birds and other animals.