- flesh of the plant is edible raw, after removing spines and inner seeds.
- taste of plant is bland or sweet to sour.
- flesh can be dried for storage.
- berries are edible.
- seeds can be dried for storage.
- dried seeds can be ground into a flour.
- varieties in the Pacific Northwest include Brittle prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia fragilis) and Plains prickly-pear cactus (Opuntia polyacantha).
- grows in dry open areas in prairies and foothills.