Opuntia macrocentra Engelm.
Purple Pricklypear, Purple Prickly Pear, Long-spined Prickly Pear, Black Spine Prickly Pear
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
USDA Symbol: OPMA8
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Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Bushy plant up to nearly 3 feet tall, with oblong or nearly rounded joints 4-8 inches long and about 6 inches wide.
Flower: Flowers 2 inches long.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug
Bloom Notes: Diurnal flowering.
DistributionUSA: 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.
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
Value to Beneficial InsectsSpecial Value to Native Bees
This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.
PropagationCommercially Avail: yes
BibliographyBibref 1140 - Cacti (1991) Clive Innes and Charles Glass
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Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Opuntia macrocentra in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Opuntia macrocentra in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Opuntia macrocentra
MetadataRecord Modified: 2021-09-30
Research By: TWC Staff