Erect Prickly-pear Cactus
Also known as Opuntia humifusa, Opuntia stricta, O. mesacantha. O. austrina
|Size:||2-3 (rarely 5) ft ft tall by 1-4 ft ft wide|
|Life Span:||Long-lived perennial|
|Noted for:||Showy flowers, Showy fruits, Interesting foliage, Thorns|
|Recommended Uses:||Makes an interesting wildflower. Can be used as a low-growing hedge in hot, dry locations.|
|Considerations:||Thorns! The thorns on this plant make weeding around it difficult. Best planted where no one will be walking adjacent to the plant.|
|Propagation:||Planting of fragments.|
always floodedextremely dry
|(Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods)|
|Moisture Tolerance:||Not wet but not extremely dry ----- to ----- Very long very dry periods|
|Salt Water Flooding Tolerance:||Tolerant of occasional/brief inundation such as can occur in storm surges.|
|Salt Spray/ Salty Soil Tolerance:||Moderate. Tolerant of salty wind and may get some salt spray. Exposure to salt spray would be uncommon (major storms).|
|Soil or other substrate:||Sand|
Nectar plant for Meske's skipper (Hesperia meskei) butterflies.
Attracts a variety of insect pollinators.
Bees documented visiting Opuntia humifusa include Agapostemon splendens, Augochlorella aurata, Augochloropsis sumptuosa, Dialictus nymphalis, D. tegularis, Halictus ligatus, Dianthidium floridiense, Lithurgus gibbosus, Megachile brevis pseudobrevis, M. policaris, M. texana, Melissodes communis, Apis mellifera, Bombus impatiens, B. pennsylvanicus and Xylocopa virginica krombeini (Deyrup et al. 2002).
|Native Habitats:||Coastal dunes, coastal grasslands.|
Distribution and Planting Zones
Natural Range in Florida
Suitable to grow in:
10A 10B 11 8A 8B 9A 9B
USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures
|Ethnobotany:||Fruits and pads are edible.|
These species are, in combination, found throughout Florida and from a cultivation perspective, are very similar. In nature, O. stricta tends to be in more coastal areas.
Rarely grown but worthy of consideration in hot dry locations where the thorns are not an issue or are an asset.
O. stricta is invasive in many warmer parts of the world including Australia, parts of Africa, and parts of Eurasia.