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Opuntia littoralis

Opuntia littoralis (Engelm.) Cockerell

Coastal Pricklypear, Short Coastal Prickly-pear

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)


USDA Symbol: OPLI3

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Sprawling prickly-pear up to 2 feet high and several feet wide.

The Short Coastal Prickly-pear is often found in huge colonies, its glistening red fruits contrasting with its yellow-green stems. It is most common in southwestern California, where is usually dwells in the California chaparral. Cochineal insects often feed on the Short Coastal Prickly-pear and a relative, Opuntia ficus-indica (Indian Fig). The female insect produces a red dye that is used by southern peoples for staining fabrics.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 2 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Red
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Yellow to dull red.


Native Distribution: Southern California, and northern Arizona; Mojave Desert.
Native Habitat: Sandy or rocky soils or hillsides, beaches, washes, alluvial fans, and bluffs in the chaparral, deserts, pinyon-juniper woodlands, and montane forests.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Heat Tolerant: yes

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

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

Web Reference

Webref 3 - Flora of North America (2014) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2022-09-22
Research By: TWC Staff

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