Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia humifusa)

Smiling Sun Gardens

Regular price $6.00

A winter hardy, clump-forming, Missouri native cactus. The round-to-oval, flattened, succulent green pads are not :leaves but swollen water-storing stem segments. Pads have a few needle-like spines and are covered with numerous tufts of bristles. Showy, bright yellow 2-3 in. flowers bloom in June-July. Pulpy, red fruits (to 2") ripen in late summer to fall and are edible, most often being used to make candies and jams. Native Americans not only ate the fruits (fresh, cooked or dried for winter), but also roasted the pads as a vegetable and used the sap for certain medicinal applications.

Easily grown in full sun in dry, sandy or gravelly, well-drained soil. May be grown in very well-drained clay soil. In autumn, the pads shrivel as the plants withdraw water in preparation for winter.

Use in native plant gardens and dry, rocky soil.

Native Habitat: Glade
Plant Type: Herbaceous Perennials
Family: Cactaceae
Zone: 4 - 9
USDA Symbol: opma2
Height: 6 to 12 inches
Spread: 12 to 18 inches
Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy soils. Sandy, Gravelly, Sandy Loam 
Color: Medium Yellow
Bloom Time: June to July
Leaf: Evergreen
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Special Features: Evergreen
Special Usage: Containers, Edible
Nature Attracting: Native Bees
Tolerate: Rabbit, Drought