John Nance Garner, IV (November 22, 1868 – November 7, 1967), was the 32nd Vice President of the United States (1933–1941) and the 44th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives (1931–33).
About 1900, Texas decided that it needed an official state flower. This was a pretty serious matter, and lots of detailed debate occurred as to what flower was suitable to represent a state as large and grand as Texas. There was a lot of support for the Cotton Boll. Not necessarily because it was beautiful, but because it was a source of wealth and prosperity in the state. After all, everyone knew that “Cotton was King” in Texas, and across the south.
John Nance Garner … was a staunch advocate of the Prickly Pear bloom. It is unclear why he was so adamant in his support of a plant that had no economic value (in fact it was a nuisance), and little aesthetic appeal. Nonetheless, his steadfast debate in support of the prickly pear earned him the nickname “Cactus Jack” Garner. This sobriquet stuck, and remained with him the remainder of his life.