En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Monday - May 11, 2009

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Seeds from opuntia
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How do I get seeds from opuntias?

ANSWER:

Very carefully. Seriously, if you are going to mess with prickly pears, you must not only avoid the spines, which are actually modified leaves, but also watch out for the glochids, which are almost invisible little hair-like structures on the cactus pad, and they can seriously damage you if you get tangled up in them. They can even affect your lungs! Most of the propagation information we found on Opuntia involved allowing them to vegetatively root, which they will happily do on their own, or you can cut the pad, allow it to callus, and then put the callus-side down into potting soil. Apparently, it's a lot easier to propagate an opuntia that way than by seeds. But, if you're determined, the only information we found about obtaining the seeds (aside from ordering a packet from Amazon) was to cut the fruit. Wait until the fruit is red, so you know it's ripe, then cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, rinse them and let them dry. The best we can tell, the rate of germination of these seeds is pretty low. They apparently do much better if they have been eaten by a small animal, like a rabbit, and then redeposited on the ground with some fresh fertilizer, no charge.

Well, you did ask.


Opuntia engelmannii

Opuntia macrocentra

Opuntia macrorhiza

Opuntia ellisiana

 

 

 

More Propagation Questions

Seedlings from established plants in Parma Hts., OH
August 02, 2010 - I have 20 yr old shrubs and hedges along my back yard. I don't know their variety. How do I keep the seedlings from encroaching in my lawn? The seedlings have sprouted 3 feet into the lawn. Any ide...
view the full question and answer

Planting Candelilla from Austin
July 12, 2013 - Good Morning and thank you for answering my question!! I am interested in planting a Candelilla plant (it looks like small bamboo plants growing only a 2-3 feet tall. I heard it is supposed to be ver...
view the full question and answer

Encouraging Daisies to Reappear
September 16, 2007 - Having moved into our home in the early spring of the year we hadn't seen any of the flowering plants around the place until we were living here and we were not given any info on care for them. So ...
view the full question and answer

Tall Evergreens for Pennsylvania
January 06, 2011 - I want to plant tall evergreen trees that grow really tall in deep shade or that I can plant already fairly large and withstand the shock of planting in a mature state and live in deep shade. I thank ...
view the full question and answer

Prosopsis velutina (velvet mesquite), Larrea tridentata (creosote bush), rain smell
October 02, 2007 - I am an El Paso native living in Plano TX. I terribly miss the smell of rain in El Paso and have learned that this smell is due to the velvet mesquite tree and also the creosote bush, among other thi...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center