Opuntia humifusa

prickly-pear cactus



Use this link to get more info about this plant from the USF Institute for Systematic Botany

Plant Specifics

Form: flower
Life Span: long-lived perennial
Size: Height: 1-2 (4) ft    Width: 1-3 ft
Flower Color: flower color      yellow
Fruit Color: fruit color      red
Phenology: evergreen
Noted for: Showy flowers, showy fruits, thorns, interesting foliage


Recommended Uses: Can be used as a small specimen plant or as a low-growing hedge that is sure to keep out intruders.
Considerations: Thorns! This plant has thorns and prickles that will attack the unwary. They make weeding difficult, and the plant needs to be where no one will accidentally step on it.
Propagation: Fragments of an existing plant.
Availability: Friends
Light: light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Moderately salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand


Attracts a variety of insects, especially native bees.
Native Habitats: Scrub, scrubby flatwoods, sandhill, xeric disturbed areas.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range

USDA Zones:

Map is based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


Ethnobotany: Hispanic people use a fruits (called tunas) to make jams and syrups. They also slice the pads (nopales) into thin strips, grill them, and serve with a lime juice.
Other Comments: Rarely grown but worthy of consideration in hot dry locations where the thorns are not an issue or are an asset.