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A picture of a Prickly pear

Prickly pear

Opuntia macrorhiza

Opuntia macrorhiza - JBM by Montréalais (CC BY 3.0)

Full Sun
Light watering

Expected size

Height
Spread

30cm

Max

80cm

10cm

Min

20cm

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

More images of Prickly pear

A close up of an Opuntia macrorhiza cactus
A photo of Prickly pear

Prickly pear Overview

Opuntia macrorhiza is a clumping perennial in the Cactaceae family. Commonly known by the name Plains Prickly Pear, this plant is found growing naturally throught the Great Plains of the USA. It is grown as an ornamental, forming jointed, flattened pads which are broadly oval in appearance, they are covered in needle-like spines which point downwards and barbed bristles. The flowers are coloured yellow, sometimes with red colouring on the inner petals, leading onto narrow, edible, red fruits. Easily mistaken with the related Opuntia humifusa, these plants were once thought to be the same species. With further analysis, Opuntia macrorhiza was found to have thicker roots, downward facing and more numberous spines comapred to Opuntia humifusa.

Common problems with Prickly pear

How to propagate Prickly pear

Cuttings

Seed

Propagate from seed.

Special features of Prickly pear

Drought resistant