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Mojave Prickly Pear
Scientific Name: Opuntia phaeacantha Engelm.
Synonym: Opuntia phaeacantha ssp. camanchica, Opuntia woodsii, Opuntia phaeacantha var. superbospina, Opuntia superbospina, Opuntia phaeacantha var. nigricans, Opuntia platyacantha, Opuntia phaeacantha var. mojavensis, Opuntia mojavensis, Opuntia charlestonensis, Opuntia phaeacantha var. charlestonensis, Opuntia phaeacantha var. camanchica, Opuntia camanchica, Opuntia phaeacantha var. angustata, Opuntia angustata, Opuntia phaeacantha var. major
Family: Cactaceae
Mojave Prickly Pear (Opuntia  phaeacantha) Recommended Temperature Zone:
sunset: 10-13
USDA: 7-10

Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 0F (-18C)

Sun Exposure:

Origin: Arizona, Utah, Texas

Growth Habits: Cactus, slow growing up to 3 feet tall (90 cm), 6 to 15 feet in spread (1.8-4.5 m)

Watering Needs: Little water when established


This is one of the most widely distributed prickly pears in the southwestern USA.
The species name "phaeacantha" means "with grey thorns".

Opuntia camanchica, Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913. Illustrated flora of the northern states and Canada. Vol. 2: 572. Courtesy of Kentucky Native Plant Society.

Blooming Habits:
The flowers appear in April and May. Originally bright yellow (see picture) they take shades of pinkish orange as they age.

Fruiting Habits:
The fruits (called 'tunas') are mahogany and are enjoyed by humans as well as a variety of wild life. When handling it, beware that they are covered with small spines that can embed in your hands and make your life miserable for a while. Peal them under water, or even better, wear gloves.

Check for Field Collection numbers at Ralph Martin's Site

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Desert-Tropicals is dedicated to provide gardening advice, gardening ideas, and information about flower of all kind for landscape and collections. We try to check carefully the identification of the plants on the illustrations as well as the other information from the page, but occasionally errors do occur. if you notice anything that needs to be changed please contact us. Thanks.

1998-2005 Philippe Faucon, All Rights Reserved.