Opuntia macrorhiza Engelm.
Bigroot Prickly Pear, Twist-spine Prickly Pear, Common Prickly Pear, Plains Prickly Pear
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
USDA Symbol: opma2
This is a low, clump-forming prickly pear, usually less than 10 in. tall, with flattened, bluish-green pads. Flowers appear at the upper margins of older segments and are 2-3 in. across. Flower petals are papery and light yellow, often reddish at the base. The fruit is fleshy, reddish-purple and without spines. Twist-spine Prickly-pear can form clumps up to 3 ft. across.
From the Image Gallery
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall, often shorter. Pads are about 2 1/2 in. wide by 4 in. long.
Flower: Flowers up to 2 1/4 inches wide.
Fruit: Reddish purple.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Red , Orange , Yellow
Bloom Time: May , Jun
DistributionUSA: AR , AZ , CO , IA , ID , IL , KS , LA , MN , MO , MT , NE , NM , OH , OK , SD , TX , UT , WI , WY
Native Distribution: AZ to c. TX & LA, n. irregularly to s. CO, s.w. SD, s. MN & IL; also reported in e. MT
Native Habitat: Dry plains; open woods. In grasslands and woodlands up to 7,00ft elevation.
Growing ConditionsWater Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky or sandy soils. Sandy, Gravelly, Sandy Loam
Conditions Comments: This cactus is clump forming and makes a good lower ground cover for a small area. It also looks good in rock gardens and stone walls. The showy yellow flowers ripen into red fruit in late summer. The fruit can be used for candies and jams.
BenefitUse Ornamental: Attractive, Blooms ornamental, Desert landscape
Conspicuous Flowers: 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.
Find Seed or Plants
Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.
Mr. Smarty Plants says
Edible plants native to Austin, TX
August 05, 2009
Hello, I am a chef from Buenos Aires Argentina visiting Austin, Texas and would like to learn about native, edible plants in the region. Please let me know if there are any native, edible plants...
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From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Fredericksburg Nature Center - Fredericksburg, TX
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Brackenridge Field Laboratory - Austin, TX
United States Botanic Garden - Washington, DC
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR
Jacob's Well Natural Area - Wimberley, TX
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-1907 Collected 2016-10-16 in McLennan County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 1141 - Cactuses of Big Bend National Park (1998) Evans, Douglas B.
Bibref 286 - Wildflowers of the Texas Hill Country (1989) Enquist, M.
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 macrorhiza in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Opuntia macrorhiza in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Opuntia macrorhiza
MetadataRecord Modified: 2023-02-21
Research By: NPC, WFS