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Loughmiller, Campbell and Lynn
Opuntia macrocentra Engelm.
Purple Prickly Pear, Purple pricklypear
USDA Symbol: OPMA8
USDA Native Status: Native to U.S.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Cactus/Succulent Leaf Retention: Evergreen Size Notes:
Bushy plant up to nearly 3ft tall, with oblong
or nearly rounded joints 4-8in long and about 6in wide. Flower:
Flowers 2 inches long Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Diurnal blooms
AZ , NM , TX Native Distribution:
Also northern Mexico Native Habitat:
Natural range is from Trans-Pecos Texas to Arizona. Well-drained caliche, loam, sand, clay. USDA Native Status: L48(N)
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes
Conditions Comments: Purple prickly pear is similar in form and provides the same rugged accent as the more common prickly pear (Opuntia lindheimeri) known in Central Texas. Its violet-lavender pads separate it from the other prickly pears. Purple prickly pear, like most prickly pear species, will grow easily; you only have to protect it from freeze, as severe cold can kill them. Minimum temperature 45F.
BenefitWarning: Care should be taken in handling this plant, since the minute, tufted, barbed bristles (glochids) at the base of the spines can be more troublesome than the spines typical of most cacti; they are lined with backward-pointing hooks, making them nearly impossible to remove from the skin.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: High
PropagationCommercially Avail: yes
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Record Modified: 2007-01-01
Research By: TWC Staff