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Opuntia fragilis (Nutt.) Haw.
Brittle Prickly Pear, Fragile Prickly Pear, Pygmy Prickly Pear, Brittle Cactus
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Synonym(s): Cactus fragilis, Opuntia brachyarthra, Opuntia fragilis ssp. brachyarthra, Opuntia fragilis var. brachyarthra, Opuntia fragilis var. denudata, Opuntia fragilis var. fragilis
USDA Symbol: OPFR
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
The entire plant forms a low, matted, clump of spiny jointed stems. Flowers yellow or greenish.
This is one of the most common low prickly-pears. Most have flatter stems.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Berry
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AZ , CA , CO , IA , ID , IL , KS , MI , MN , MT , ND , NE , NM , NV , OK , OR , SD , TX , UT , WA , WI , WY
Canada: AB , BC , MB , ON , SK
Native Distribution: Western Washington and southern British Columbia; south on the east side of the Cascade Mountains to northern California and northern Arizona; east to northern Texas and southern Michigan.
Native Habitat: Dry open areas.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
BenefitConspicuous Flowers: yes
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
BibliographyBibref 1294 - The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Opuntia fragilis in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Opuntia fragilis in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Opuntia fragilis
MetadataRecord Modified: 2016-03-04
Research By: TWC Staff