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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
USDA Native Status: L48 (N)
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
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 8 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , NM , NV , TX , UT
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
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Web ReferenceWebref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter
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: 2022-10-20
Research By: TWC Staff