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Opuntia ellisiana (Spineless prickly pear)
Marcus, Joseph A.

Opuntia ellisiana

Opuntia ellisiana Griffiths

Spineless Prickly Pear, Tigertongue, South Texas Pricklypear

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Synonym(s): Opuntia ×ellisiana

USDA Symbol: OPEL3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Opuntia ellisiana is a spinless form of Opuntia cacanapa.

Opuntia ellisiana is derived from cultivation in the United States.


From the Image Gallery

22 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: 3-6'
Fruit: Red

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun


Native Distribution: Opuntia ellisiana is known only from cultivation in the United States.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: Medium , High
Conditions Comments: The spineless prickly pear is a great addition to the landscape for those seeking a cactus form, showy blooms and bright red fruits (tunas). Beware, although it doesn't have long sharp spines, the tiny glochids (slivers) are very irritating to the skin if the plant is not handled correctly. Grab the pads between the glochid "dots".


Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes
Deer Resistant: Moderate

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.


Propagation Material: Seeds , Semi-hardwood Cuttings , Softwood Cuttings
Description: Allow cut surface to callous over before planting.
Seed Collection: Allow fruit to ripen then clean and dry seeds.
Seed Treatment: Seed can be stored after cleaning.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

NPSOT - Austin Chapter - Austin, TX
NPSOT - Williamson County Chapter - Georgetown, TX


Bibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Opuntia ellisiana in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Opuntia ellisiana in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Opuntia ellisiana


Record Modified: 2013-06-08
Research By: Damon Waitt

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