"Pear", which you will come to know intimately in your South Texas or Mexico hunt, is high in moisture content and is very valuable to deer and javelina as a source for food and moisture. Deer use their hooves and mouth to split the pear pad open so that they can eat the interior pulp.....once you've accidentally bumped into a pear you will see what a neat trick this really is! During droughts, ranchers use propane burners to burn off the spines from the plant to provide emergency food for their cattle.
The young pads, called nopalitos, and the red fruits, called tunas, are also edible by humans. The tunas are made into a jelly and the nopalitos are boiled and added to fried eggs for a real Tex - Mex breakfast.
Purple sage is a low growing shrub that is one of the few plants in this area that do not have thorns!! This beautiful plant has a limited value to wildlife such as deer; however it may be browsed in droughts and when more preferred foods are unavailable in the winter months.
When found in mass and in bloom, as shown in the picture, it is truly a beautiful plant that has found considerable use in home gardens and landscape environments where its water requirements are minimal.