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Opuntia humifusa

Pronunciation: Op-un-shee-a hew-mih-few-suh
Family: Cactaceae (cactus family)
Common Name: Hardy prickly pear , prickly pear cactus, prickly-pear
Plant Type:
  • perennial
Height to: 4'
Width to: 4'
USDA Hardiness Zones:
  • -10 to -20ºF ZONE 5
  • 0 to -10ºF ZONE 6
  • 10 to 0ºF ZONE 7
  • 20 to 10ºF ZONE 8
  • 30 to 20ºF ZONE 9
  • 40 to 30ºF ZONE 10
Sun Exposure:
  • full sun
Bloom Description: The showy flowers appear in late spring and early summer. They are bright yellow and 3-4 in (7. 6-10. 2 cm) across. The edible egg shaped fruits are called tunas and are reddish green, and 2-3 in (5. 1-7. 6 cm) long. The pulp is ruby red and tastes a little like watermelon.
Propagation: By seeds or by rooting the pads.
Notes for Identification: Useful in mixed borders and natural areas. Hardy prickly pear is low-growing and its brilliant yellow flowers and meandering pads are most effective at the front of mixed plantings. It thrives in rock gardens and containers. See what happens when you use your finger or a small stick to gently touch the stamens in an open prickly pear flower! If it had been an insect instead of your finger, the writhing stamens would have spread pollen all over it. Then, if the insect moved to a flower on a different prickly pear it would have carried the pollen and cross-pollinated the plants. The sweet juicy fruits of the prickly pear, called tunas, are very popular everywhere except the united states. In fact, annual worldwide commercial production of prickly pear tunas is more than twice that of strawberries, avocados, or apricots! The pads, called nopales, are a popular vegetable in mexico and central america. They are usually cooked but can be eaten raw. They taste a little like green beans. Warningprickly pear spines are easy enough to avoid, but watch out for the glochids, those tiny hairlike bristles that occur in little tufts. They are barbed and treacherous! Plant info from: floridata
Located in: Seed Photos
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