Opuntia humifusa

Landscape Uses:

Accent shrub.

Ecological Restoration Notes:

Native plant nurseries.
Medium or small succulent shub armed with gray spines.
Typically 2-4 feet in height. Usually about as broad and tall.
Growth Rate:
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.
Pinelands and open coastal uplands.
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:
Flower Characteristics:
Flowering Season:
All year; peak spring-summer.
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.
Part of a species complex with significant variation that has been undergoing signifiant taxonomic revision. Local sources are best used. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Robert L. Line
James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Blazingstar Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida
Roger L. Hammer
George D. Gann
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton
Shirley Denton