Opuntia dulcis

(Sweet Prickly Pear)


Opuntia dulcis, River Road, Big Bend National Park 1159


Opuntia dulcis, River Road, Big Bend National Park 1158


Opuntia dulcis, River Road, Big Bend National Park 1160

Scientific Name Opuntia dulcis (Opuntia engelmanni var. dulcis, Opuntia lindheimeri var. dulcis) USDA PLANTS Symbol OPEND
Common Name Sweet Prickly Pear ITIS Taxonomic Serial No. 538006
Family Cactaceae (Cactus) SEINet
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Description Habitat: Desert environments along the Rio Grande from Big Bend northwest to at least El Paso; 2200 to 3500 ft. elevation.
Plant: Summer: Sprawling plant up to 3 to 5 feet high.
Pads & Spines: Pads obovate to suborbicular, 6 to 7 inches long, 4 to 6 inches across; usually 2 spines per areole, about 1-1/4 inches long; lower portions light brown to nearly white above.
Inflorescence: Yellow flowers with pale or bright red center; 2 to 2-3/4 inches across; pale green to cream-colored or colorless filaments about 5/8-inch long, yellow anthers; colorless or pinkish style with light green stigma lobes.
Bloom Period: April to May.
Fruit: Smooth with a few areoles and no spines; obovate to inverse conical shape, reddish, about 2 inches long, 1 to 1-1/4 inches diameter.
References: "Cacti of Texas" by Powell, Weedin and Powell.
BONAP Distribution Map

Texas Status:

Banner photo of Lupinus ssp. by Rick Capozza, Austin TX

© Tom Lebsack 2023