Medium bushy succulent shrub, usually armed with yellow spines.
Typically 3-6 feet in height. Usually about as broad as tall.
Southeastern United States south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies.
Pinelands and coastal uplands, occasionally inland.
Moist to periodically inundated brackish sandy or limestone soils, with or without humusy top layer.
Low to moderate; it can grow in nutrient poor soils or soils with some organic content.
Salt Water Tolerance:
Moderate; tolerates brackish water or occasional inundation by salt water.
Salt Wind Tolerance:
Secondary line; tolerates significant salt wind without injury, but usually is somewhat protected.
High; does not require any supplemental water once established.
Full sun to light shade.
Yellow to yellowish-orange.
All year; peak spring-summer.
Purplish-red berry. Edible.
Wildlife and Ecology:
Provides food for wildlife. Nectar plant for Meske's skipper (Hesperia meskei) butterflies.
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.
The fruits can be peeled and eaten raw. It is listed as threatened by the state of Florida. Taxonomy: the spineless form more common on the mainland is referable to variety stricta; the spiny form more common in the Florida Keys is referable to variety dillenii, or O. dillenii.
Gann, G.D., M.E. Abdo, J.W. Gann, G.D. Gann, Sr., S.W.
Woodmansee, K.A. Bradley, E. Grahl and K.N. Hines. 2005-2016. Natives For Your Neighborhood. http://www.regionalconservation.org.
The Institute for Regional Conservation. Delray Beach, Florida USA.