Prickly pear cactus is native to the Americas. The paddles have tiny, sharp thorns covering it, as well as an areola on its tip. As the cactus blossoms, the flowers grow out of the areola. Like many cactus species, prickly pear plants produce barbed, loose thorns that can attach to anything. Despite all the thorns, prickly pear paddles are not all thorns. The liquid inside the paddles works just like aloe vera gel!