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Pricklypear
Opuntia humifusa
Cactaceae


General Landscape Uses:

Accent shrub.
Availability:
Native plant nurseries.
Description:
Medium or small succulent shub armed with gray spines.
Dimensions:
Typically 2-4 feet in height. Usually about as broad and tall.
Growth Rate:
Moderate.
Range:
Eastern United States west to Montana and New Mexico and south to the Monroe County Keys. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Miami-Dade County to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key, where very rare or extirpated.
Habitats:
Pinelands and open coastal uplands.
Soils:
Moist to dry, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, without humus.
Nutritional Requirements:
Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Frontline; grows in direct salt wind but away from constant salt spray.
Drought Tolerance:
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Light Requirements:
Full sun.
Flower Color:
Yellow.
Flower Characteristics:
Showy.
Flowering Season:
All year; peak spring-summer.
Fruit:
Red to purplish berry. Edible. Highly ornamental.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Attracts insect pollinators. Nectar plant for dotted skipper (Hesperia attalus) butterflies.
Horticultural Notes:
Can be grown from cuttings and seed. For cuttings, break off mature pad at joint. Let dry for a few days. Set cut end in potting soil several inches deep. Water every 2-3 days. Roots will form soon and initial growth will be rapid. Good drainage is essential.
Comments:
A species with significant morphological variation. Local sources are best used.


 


Robert L. Line
Roger L. Hammer
George D. Gann
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton