Opuntia stricta

erect prickly-pear cactus


wildlife plant   wildlife plant  


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: 2-3 (rarely 5) ft    Width: 1-4 ft
Flower Color: flower color      yellow
Fruit Color: fruit color      red
Phenology: evergreen
Noted for: Showy flowers, showy fruits, thorns, interesting foliage


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.
Availability: Friends
Light: light requirement  
Moisture Tolerance:
Salt Tolerance: Highly salt tolerant
Soil or other substrate: Sand


wildlife plant   wildlife plant  
Attracts a variety of insect pollinators. Nectar plant for Meske's skipper (Hesperia meskei) butterflies.
Native Habitats: Coastal dunes, coastal grasslands. This species can be seen at Honeymoon Island State Park in Pinellas County.

Distribution and Planting Zones

Natural Range in Florida

USDA Zones:

USDA zones are based on minimum winter temperatures

Suitable to grow in:


Fruits and pads are edible.

Other Comments:

Rarely grown but worthy of consideration in hot dry locations where the thorns are not an issue or are an asset.

One of several cactus species that is attacked by the cactus moth, Cactoblastis cactorum, which arrived in Florida in 1989, and this invasive species has become a serious threat to the diversity and abundance of Opuntia cacti in North America. If it become a problem on an Opuntia used in landscaping, it is best treated by manual removal as insecticides can also kill native butterflies and pollinators.