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Home » Santa Clarita News » Environment » SCV Outdoor Report » SCV Outdoor Report:Fruits Of Their Labors

SCV Outdoor Report:Fruits Of Their Labors

By Wendy Langhans

Normally, I look for Prickly Pear Cactus in the spring; their cheerful yellow flowers are quite striking in May and June.  But last weekend, I got to see the fruits of their labors – pear-shaped, purplish-red fruit known as “Tunas”.















There are two common types of Prickly Pear cactus found in our area.  The first Coastal Prickly Pear (Opuntia littoralis) is found inland at lower elevations and, well…, near the coast.  The second, Chaparral Prickly Pear (Opuntia oricola), is also found in the area.  You can tell which is which by several criteria.

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shorter, thicket-like

taller, tree-like

Pad shape

elongated – longer length than width

circular – length and width similar


white and round cross section

brownish-yellow & flattened cross section

Both the fruit-like “tunas” and the fleshy, green pads (known as nopales or “joints”) are edible.  You can purchase fresh nopales at grocery stories in Hispanic neighborhoods and canned nopalitos are also available.  Nopales can be used in many dishes – salads, omlets, and casseroles.  Syrup from the sweet “tunas” can be made into jams, jellies and candy.  For additional information and recipes, check out this website.  Just watch out for the spines and glochids and make sure you aren’t “harvesting” any plant material in our parks and national forests.







As for me, I think I’ll pay a visit to some of our local markets.  Now that the weather is getting cooler, this may be a good time to break out the canning kettle.


Upcoming Outdoor Events:

Saturday, September 11, 8:00-11:00 AM.  River Rally.  16th Annual River Clean-up and Environmental Expo, sponsored by the City of Santa Clarita.  For more information, go here.

Saturday, September 18, 8:00-10:00 AM.  Morning Bird Hike at Towsley Canyon.  Bring water and your binoculars and wear closed-toed shoes. Meet at the park entrance.  2 hours.  For a map, click here.

Saturday, September 18, 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM.  Reptile Festival at Placerita Canyon.  For more information, go here.

Tuesday, September 21, 7:00–9:00 PM.  Public Comment for the National Park Service’s “Rim of the Valley Corridor Study”.  “The purpose of this special resource study is to determine whether any portion of the Rim of the Valley Corridor study area (the mountains encircling the San Fernando, La Crescenta, Santa Clarita, Simi and Conejo Valleys of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties) is eligible to be designated as a unit of the national park system or added to an existing national park unit.” For more information, go here.  Meeting to be held at the George A. Caravalho Sports Complex Activities Center Building, 20880 Centre Point Parkway, Santa Clarita.

Thursday, September 23, 7:00-9:00 PM.  Full Moon Adventure in Towsley Canyon.  The canyon is a whole ‘nother world at night.  Bring water and wear closed-toed shoes. Meet at the park entrance.  2 hours.  For a map, click here.

Trail Maintenance Schedule.  Come join our volunteers as they help maintain our trails.  Contact Steve at for time and place.

Wednesday mornings, September 1, 8, 15, 22, & 29.

Saturday mornings, September 11 & 25.


You can listen to stories like this every Friday morning at 7:10 a.m. on “The Hike Report”, brought to you by your hometown radio station KHTS (AM1220) and by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

For the complete MRCA hike and activity schedule and for trail maps, click here or go to

SCV Outdoor Report:Fruits Of Their Labors

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