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

Germination of bluebonnet seeds in Hempstead, TX
April 01, 2008 - We scattered 20 lbs of bluebonnet seeds on our property near Hempstead. Only about 10 plants have come up even though on another part of the property we have thousands. It is well drained and in sun....
view the full question and answer

Male pollinator to produce berries on Juniperus virginiana from Amston CT
November 08, 2012 - We have planted 3 juniperus virginiana 'Glauca' (on our Connecticut property) that have a few blue berries on them. Will they need a male pollinator to make berries? We do not have other juniperus...
view the full question and answer

Seed collection from rain lilies
May 14, 2008 - Hello, I have some rain lilies growing in our yard. I've collected some seed heads, but am not sure what steps to take now. They were all off of broken stems (the dogs are not as cautious as I am...
view the full question and answer

Plants native to Galveston that would survive in Austin
December 01, 2008 - What plants are native to the Galveston, Texas region? Can any of those plants survive in the Austin area?
view the full question and answer

Propagation of Eastern Redbud
March 25, 2005 - I have collected seeds from an Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis L.) and I want to learn how to germinate them. How can I find out this information?
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