Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii
Opuntia engelmannii Salm-Dyck ex Engelm. var. engelmannii
Cactus apple, Prickly pear
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Synonym(s): Opuntia dillei, Opuntia discata, Opuntia lindheimeri var. tricolor, Opuntia megacarpa, Opuntia microcarpa, Opuntia occidentalis var. megacarpa, Opuntia phaeacantha var. discata, Opuntia tardospina, Opuntia tricolor, Opuntia ×subarmata
USDA Symbol: OPENE
This is perhaps the most abundant prickly pear in West Texas, and one of the most attractive. The masses of yellow to orange flowers it produces will bring one to a stop, no matter how often they are encountered. The plant itself is sometimes 8 feet across and almost as tall. The fruits, called tuna, are up to 2 1/2 inches long with a deep maroon color that makes the plant attractive after the flowers are gone (248).
The species and variety of this plant are named for George Engelmann (1809-1884) who was born in Germany and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, as a young man. He was a physician and botanist, describing especially North American Abies (Firs), Agaves, Cactus (for which he described more than 108 species), Cuscuta (Dodder), Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family), Juncus (Rushes), Juniperus (“Cedar”), Pinus (Pines), Vitis (Grapes), and Yuccas. When he died much of his collection went to Missouri Botanical Garden.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Size Class: 6-12 ft.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam Clay
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
BibliographyBibref 765 - McMillen's Texas Gardening: Wildflowers (1998) Howard, D.
Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
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Recommended Species Lists
Find native plant species by state. Each list contains commercially available species suitable for gardens and planned landscapes. Once you have selected a collection, you can browse the collection or search within it using the combination search.View Recommended Species page
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii
MetadataRecord Modified: 2008-08-27
Research By: TWC Staff