Opuntia engelmannii     
Engelmann's prickly pear   
Cactaceae Family     

Compiled by the Master Gardeners
of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension.


Form: large segmented cacti, spreading upright form
yellow cactus flower
flower on edge of pad of
Opuntia engelmannii
Seasonality: evergreen
Size: 4-6ft, spread to 10-15ft; may form larger clumps
Leaves: thick pads, oval or rounded, aeroles 1-1.5in apart with glochids and spines at each aerole; spines usually white or tan, sometimes reddish or brown
Flowers: attractive, funnel-shaped yellow or orangy red flowers on perimeter (edge) of pads, to 3in across; bloom April to May
Fruit: edible fleshy fruit, egg-shaped, 3in long 1in across; green ripening to purple; much loved by wildlife
Stems/Trunks: occasionally forms somewhat woody stem at base (not a strong trunk former)
Range/Origin: throughout desert southwest US and Mexico, elevations of 1000-4500ft
Hardiness: to low teens



Engelmann's prickly pear
Opuntia engelmannii

distinctive for the "Mickey Mouse"-like look of its pads

most common prickly pear

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This page was first created July 20, 2001 and last modified January 13, 2006.

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