This is a prickly pear cactus: (link) The desert is in desperate need of more interest, and a new cactus is the best kind of new plant to add.
It grows in a very segmented fashion, and so would be an interesting one to adapt to Minecraft's style. It also grows fruit (the reddish parts in the picture), so would make for an interesting new desert food source. The cactus itself is also edible, once you take off the spines. (link) Maybe if you use a sword to harvest a prickly pear cactus you get a de-spined version that you can eat, but can't be planted to grow into a new plant.
I imagine it could grow similar to the chorus plant, with branching segments that all have a similar appearance, with the final piece growing one or more fruits. Each piece of the prickly pear can be planted in sand and grow a new plant.
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