Common & Scientific Names of Cacti & Other Succulents


Field Trips and Tours

Information Brochure






Opuntia Cactus

Pictures of Cacti

State Plant of TEXAS

TCC Membership


The Texas Cactus Council cook-off was a total success! The winners in each of the categories were:

Main Dish

Minnie Salazar (First)- - Cactus & Chicken Fajita Guisado; Nelda Utley (Second) - - Nopalito Dish; J. T. Garcia (Third) - - Cactus/Shrimp Gumbo)


San Juanita Yzaguirre ( First)- - Nopalitos & More; Minnie Salazar (Second) - - Cactus, Chicken & fruit; Eugene & Kathy Piette (Third) - - Cactus Salad


Dora C. Canales (First) - - Festive Cactus Tarts; Yolanda Zapata (Second) - - Rosy Pan de Polvo


Emma C. Martinez (First) - - Nopalito Dip; Minnie Salazar (Second) - - Nopalito/Ham Dip; Yolanda Zapata (third) - - Cranberry Sauce Delight


YOLANDA ZAPATA - - Cranberry Sauce Delight


December 8, 2007

Christmas Party

The Texas Cactus Council Christmas party was just great! It took place on December 8, 2007, at Rancho El Sauz, the beautiful new ranch style home of Alfredo and Dora Villarreal. It is located about a mile west of the small community of El Sauz, Texas. Over 50 Texas Cactus Council members and their guests enjoyed the fabulous meal. Everyone was invited to tour the huge home - - this was another great treat. After the meal and the opening of the Christmas gifts, everyone drove over to their ranch (about three miles away), where we took a tour enjoying the vast beauty of the numerous cacti found at the cactus sanctuary. Everyone's cameras were clicking, recording the natural beauty of the land. We all got to see peyote, a cactus used by an Indian tribe in their religious ceremonies. It is illegal for anyone else to harvest or possess this cactus. A variety of other cacti was also seen. As we all know , Dora has received a State of Texas award for owning the oldest, continuous operation, in the same family, ranch in the state of Texas . Our thanks to Dora and Alfredo for their hospitality.


The cookbook, ART OF COOKING WITH CACTUS, is now available. Price:  $15 + $3 Postage & Handling

Send your request & payment to:

Texas Cactus Council

PO Box 423

Benavides, TX 78341

Email your questions to: garjo60@stx.rr.com       

December 9, 2006

The TCC Annual Christmas Party was December 9, 2006 in Rio Grande City at the Tijerina Complex, adjacent to the John P. Kelsey historical building, 408 E. Main .  Most of us got there early and started the celebration by enjoying tamales which Joe Martinez brought. We stood around the fire in the fireplace as the temperature was in the 40's. A trolley was waiting for us to board at 3:00 P.M. The trolley took us to Fort Ringgold, where we were able to see the barracks and other buildings used by the southern troops during the war.  Other stops were at the Grotto, the La Borde House and other historical attractions.  Mr. Mauro Villarreal, historian and head of the Rio Grande City Economic Development Council conducted the fantastic tour.  This tour helped us to better understand the history of South Texas in that area.  The price for the trolley ride was $7.00 per person. 

 The 9th & 10th of December were Market Days in Rio Grande City .  This event was held at the place where we had our party.  Market Days is an Arts & Crafts event, and the timing was great for us to do a little shopping before the trolley ride.

 The TCC furnished the turkey and ham.  Members brought delicious dishes that coordinated very well with the meat and desserts.

This was a family affair with a gift exchange.  All in all, if you weren't able to make it, you missed a great party!

November 4, 2006

The Texas Cactus Council cookoff in Hebbronville, Texas , on November 4th, was great! Entries in the different categories of the cactus cookoff were judged. Among the winners was Texas Cactus Council member Minnie Salazar, who won four different prizes for her cactus recipes. After the judging, everyone was invited to enjoy the cactus cookoff entries.

September 21, 2006

The Texas Cactus Council met in Freer on September 21, 2006 ,with a nice group of TCC members present. The program was presented by TCC member James Williams from Freer, Texas.

James shared pictures with the group from his trips to Oaxaca,Mexico , and Arizona . He also shared information with the group from a book published in early 1930, Texas Cacti - - A Popular and Scientific Account of the Cacti Native of Texas , by Ellen D. Schultz and Robert Runyon. A very interesting piece of information in the book was about the coyote and his love for the cactus fruit (tunas). The coyote is particularly fond of these tunas which are covered with spine clusters. He brushes the spines off with his tail, removes the tunas with his foot, then eats the tunas in comfort. Those ‘yotes are smarter than we thought!! J.T Garcia

August 17, 2006

The program on the harvesting of cochineal was presented at the August 17th meeting by JT Garcia. Cochineal is a dye made from an insect that thrives on cactus pads. Once used world-wide, there is not as much demand for it as there once was. The dyestuff was consumed throughout Europe and was so highly prized that its price was regularly quoted on the London and Amsterdam Commodity Exchange. The breeding of the cochineal insect has been done mainly for the purpose of maintaining the tradition rather than to satisfy any sort of demand.

March 2006

“The Healing Properties of Cacti” was an excellent presentation for TCC members and guests at the March 2006 meeting by Ms. Nancy Gonzalez, a Freer High School Biology teacher. Cactus boosts the body's immunization antiviral properties, fights herpes, HIV, obesity, gastro-intestinal disorders, skin ailments, fights cholesterol - - - all this obtained by the consumption of cactus. More information on the additional values of cacti can be found on the TCC web page Nopalitos.

TCC Annual Christmas Party---December 10, 2005

The TCC annual Christmas party was held in Castroville, TX, west of San Antonio on December 10, 2005. A fantastic time was had by all who attended! Additionally, before the party, the TCC group had a tour of Castroville and then a warm reception at the Prestridge's farm home.

TCC Cactus Cook-off--- November 5, 2005

The TCC cactus cook-off was on November 5th at the Jim Hogg County First Annual Vaquero Festival in Hebbronville, TX. Cactus recipes were brought in four different categories: Main Dish; Salads, Desserts; and Miscellaneous. All the recipes were required to contain cactus and/or cactus fruit (tunas). 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes were awarded in each of the categories. The Best of Show Award went to Minnie Salazar from Hebbronville, TX.

August 3, 2005

J.T. Garcia attended the Coastal Bend Cacti and Succulent Society meeting in Corpus Christi. The group stared their meeting with a "Show and Tell" in which members took a plant and described it to the group. Several interesting plants, cacti and succulents, were taken in. The group discussed and shared tips for growing better plants. One tip made was that cacti grow better in clay pots than in plastic pots because clay pots do not retain as much moisture as plastic pots. Another tip was that rubbing aloe vera on fresh cut cacti before planting helps keep bugs away from the cactus pad. Pots used for planting cacti should contain 1 part coarse sand, 1 part potting soil and 2 parts of gravel. There was a drawing at the end of the meeting and J.T. went home with a succulent - a donkey's ear. The group meets at 7:30 PM on the first Wednesday of the month at the Garden Senior Center, 5325 Greely, Corpus Christi, TX.