I noticed today my prickly pears, Opuntia, are starting to bloom.
Vicious as this plant may be if you happen to brush up against any of its spines or glochids, the flowers are spectacular. Some have a more orange throat.....
and some are pure yellow.
Either way bees and beetles are not afraid to enter the flower and bury themselves among the pollen-bearing stamens.
But all is not well. On the same plant I notice shriveled flowers. At first I thought it must be caused by the lack of rainfall. Then I notice a plumply normal flower among the shriveled. The pads seem healthy enough. Is this some disease? I can find nothing on the internet about such a problem. Any ideas?