Natives For Your Neighborhood is a labor of love and commitment. If you use this website, help us maintain and grow it with your tax-deductible donation.


Please scroll to the bottom for more images.
Erect pricklypear
Opuntia stricta

Copyright by: James Johnson
Eastern Cuba, 2013

General Landscape Uses: Accent or specimen shrub.

Availability: Grown by one or two native plant nurseries in South Florida. Available in Sanibel at the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (239-472-2329).

Description: Medium bushy succulent shrub, usually armed with yellow spines.

Dimensions: Typically 3-6 feet in height. Usually about as broad as tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Southeastern United States south to the Monroe County Keys; West Indies.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Pinelands and coastal uplands, occasionally inland.

Soils: Moist to periodically inundated brackish sandy or limestone soils, with or without humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: 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.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Yellow to yellowish-orange.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Purplish-red berry. Edible.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides food for wildlife. Nectar plant for Meske's skipper (Hesperia meskei) 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: 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.

Copyright by: James Johnson
Eastern Cuba, 2013

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Keith A. Bradley

Copyright by: Steven W. Woodmansee

Other data on Opuntia stricta available from:

Resources Links:
Find Native Plants!

Acknowledgements and past sponsors
Become a sponsor!

Emergent Sponsors:

Canopy Sponsors:
Herbaceous Sponsors: