Opuntia

This page is devoted to opuntias or opuntioids (which have been split into several genera). They bear some of the most beautiful flowers in the cactus world!  Many are eye-catching plants too. The opuntioids include the flat-padded prickly pears (Opuntia in the narrow sense), the cylindrical-jointed chollas (Cylindropuntia), and the club chollas (Grusonia or Corynopuntia). 

Opuntias are an easy group of cacti to grow, and are the gift that keeps on giving.  They grow in sections, any of which can be removed and rooted to start a new plant.  We send unrooted cuttings and the difference in price reflects two things: one, the overall size of the cuttings and two, the rarity of that type.  In some cases we may only have a few pads available for sale.  The prices listed are for a single, unrooted pad.

These are all being grown outside here in Tucson (26F to 110F), with just a few in protected areas.  Any variation on this temperature tolerance will be mentioned with the particular species.  

Species List

Austrocylindropuntia salniana

Miniature opuntioid with many mini 'joints' and reddish spines.

$3.00
Austrocylindropuntia verschaffeltii

Many finger-like light green stems.

$5.00
Cumulopuntia boliviana

Cholla like green stems with few white spines.

$4.00
Cumulopuntia fulgida

Clump forms long 3 to 4" cholla joints with many yellow/white spines.

$8.00
Grusonia bulbispina

A low growing plant with short sage-green 'joints' with 1 1/2"  red brown spines.

$4.00
Grusonia planibulbispina

A mat forming opuntioid with short joints covered with clusters of white flattened spines

$3.00
Cylaca-red3951.JPG (130582 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) acanthocarpa var. major - red flower
This southern Arizona variety of buckhorn cholla gets to 5 or 6 feet tall and normally not as wide.  The flowers vary from yellow to red (all other varieties of buckhorn are only yellow-flowered).  The name acanthocarpa means "spiny fruit." Three selected colors are offered below.
 


$4.00

Cylaca-yel3953.JPG (128312 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) acanthocarpa var. major - yellow flr $4.00
Cylaca-bronze3960.JPG (131642 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) acanthocarpa var. major - bronze flr $4.00
Opac.jpg (135883 bytes) Opuntia aciculata
Clumps to 3 feet tall and several feet wide, with yellow flowers.  From southern Texas and northern Mexico.
 

$5.00

Opba_au.JPG (123458 bytes) Opuntia aurea (O. basilaris aurea)
This miniature species makes small, low clumps, sometimes with runners.  Pads are less than 2 inches long and about half as wide.  Nice yellow flowers.
 


$5.00

Opubasmon5083.JPG (57516 bytes) Opuntia basilaris forma monstrosus
This is a monstrose form of the normal Beaver Tail Cactus and is very weird.  Every pad that grows is monstrose. We sell unrooted pads
$15.00
Opba_br.JPG (139543 bytes) Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada
This little beavertail lives on the edge of the desert in south-central California.  The pads are less than 3 inches long and less than half as wide.  The flower is cerise.
 


$5.00

Opba Xsa flr1.JPG (126177 bytes) Opuntia basilaris X O. santa-rita
This is a very vigorous, fast growing hybrid to about 2 feet tall and several feet across.   Extremely floriferous.
 

$4.00

Opch.JPG (126291 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) cholla
This tree-like cholla occurs throughout the Baja peninsula of Mexico.  The flowers are pink.  This species is probably damaged below the mid twenties.
 


$4.00

Opros.JPG (135470 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) cf. prolifera
This species is a tree type Opuntia to over 6 feet tall.  Flowers are yellow.  Native to the west slope of the coastal mountains in northern Baja.  Probably damaged at temperatures in the low 20's.
 

 

$5.00

Opucoch3976.JPG (122692 bytes) Opuntia (Nopalea) cochenillifera
Tubular pink flowers pollinated by hummingbirds. 
$5.00
Opuntia debreczyi spp. denuda

A mat like growing plant with fat flattened 1" pads.

 

$5.00
Opuntia echios v. gigantea A huge tree species from the Galapagos Islands. Frost tender. $15.00
Opu-cf-engalt-redpink3935.JPG (138682 bytes) Opuntia cf. engelmannii alta forma red-pink
Not sure what this is or where it came from. Looks like Engelmann prickly pear, but it has bright red-pink flowers.
$6.00
Opfi_in.JPG (131928 bytes) Opuntia ficus-indica
This spineless tree-type prickly pear can get over 15 feet tall in just a few years.  It is commonly used in the southwest for 'nopales', which are the young, soft new pads, cooked and eaten.  The large red fruits are also eaten.  The flowers are yellow.
 

 

 

$8.00

Opfi_in_cl1.JPG (138593 bytes) Opuntia ficus-indica Clone 1
This clone of Burbank's spineless prickly pear has been selected for its desirable fruit characteristics.  It produces large, sweet fruits.  It does not get as large as the normal.  The flowers are yellow. 
 

 


$8.00

Opgr.JPG (123925 bytes) Opuntia (Grusonia) grahamii
This club cholla is a Chihuahuan species from southern  New Mexico into Texas and northern Mexico.  It is a mat-forming species to barely over 6 inches tall.  The flowers are yellow.
 

 

$4.00

Opho flr1.JPG (132793 bytes) Opuntia  horstii (invalid name)
I don't have a clue where I got this name, as I cannot find it referenced anywhere, but I have had it for close to twenty years now. This plant is very similar to O. macrocentra, but without the long central spines.
 

 

 

$4.00

Ophu.JPG (134438 bytes) Opuntia  humifusa
A creeping, small padded (2.5" by 1.5") prickly pear, this species forms small patches of pads with yellow flowers.  If you live in virtually any state east of Arizona, save your money and take a trip to some native habitat and collect a few pads for yourself.  My clone is from Arkansas and is probably cold tolerant to below zero.  
 

 

 

$4.00

CylimbSspi3988.JPG (127580 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) (imbricata X spinosior)?
This hybrid cholla from New Mexico has streaked flowers.
$10.00
Opuntia (Grusonia) invicta
Native to central Baja, this club-cholla is usually about a foot tall and up to several feet across.  It has yellow flowers with a magnificent form.  (Jane wants to have a special handling charge on this plant. The specific name means "invincible".)  
 

 

$6.00

Ople.JPG (130476 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) leptocaulis
Christmas cholla is so-named because the small, red fruits are abundant in winter.  Native to the desert southwest, this species forms a shrub to several feet tall and across.  The flowers are greenish-yellow.  The name means thin-stemmed.
 

 


$4.00

Opma.JPG (141854 bytes) Opuntia (Grusonia) marenae
A small growing species to a foot tall and about as wide.  Native only to a small area of central coastal Sonora, it is rarely offered.  2 to 3 inch diameter creamy flowers are borne terminally on the stem.  The roots are tuberous.
 

 


$6.00

Opvi ma.JPG (135977 bytes) Opuntia macrocentra 'Ed Busch' clone
Variety macrocentra of O. violacea is shrubby and spreading and has a yellow flower with a red center.  This clone is extremely vigorous and floriferous.  Ed Bush donated hundreds of plants of this clone to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum for our annual plant sales.  This variety is native to SE Arizona to W Texas.
 

 

 

$5.00

Opvima cu2.jpg (134212 bytes) Opuntia macrocentra 'Long Spine' clone
This clone has much longer spines than normal, with beautiful yellow flowers with a reddish center.  Native to SE Arizona to W Texas, this plant makes a low growing mound, 2 feet tall and several feet across.
 

 

$6.00

Opmacro.JPG (121103 bytes) Opuntia macrorhiza
A widespread and variable species from the southwest into the midwest.  Less than a foot tall and spreading, the roots are fleshy (macro=large, rhyza=root) and the flower is yellow.
 

 


$4.00

Opmo.JPG (127665 bytes) Opuntia (Cylindropuntia) molesta
From central Baja California, this  is a shrub to several feet tall.  The golden spines, which are spectacular when backlit by the sun, have perhaps the largest papery sheath of any cholla.  Uncommon in cultivation and cold sensitive in the low twenties. Its name is very appropriate; plant it out of reach. (Jane says this one should be outlawed! ) The small yellowish flowers are rarely seen.
 

 


$6.00

Opph.JPG (137618 bytes) Opuntia phaeacantha
This species is variable, but my clone is native to Tucson.  It gets 2 to 3 feet tall and several feet across and has a large (3 inches), yellow flower.  
 

 

$4.00

Opuntia piccardoi
Small, somewhat elongated padded species with yellow spines and red flowers.  From Argentina.
$4.00
Oppo.JPG (132999 bytes) Opuntia polyacantha
A clump forming prickly pear, this species is native across the west into Canada and is very cold tolerant.  The flowers are yellow.
 


$5.00

Operur flr2.jpg (135906 bytes) Opuntia polyacantha v. erinacea (O. erinacea v. ursina)
The 'Grizzly Bear' cactus is aptly named.  The plant makes a patch up to several feet across and can take a lot of sun and cold. 
 


$6.00

Opqu.JPG (134332 bytes) Opuntia quimilo
This tree-like species has central spines that can get to 5 inches long.  It can get 10 feet tall and has orange-red flowers.  From northern Argentina and Bolivia.  
 

 

$6.00

Opre.JPG (144078 bytes) Opuntia (Grusonia) reflexispina
A small clumping plant to about a foot tall and double that wide, this species occurs only in one small locality near Guaymas, Sonora.  The flowers are borne on the ends of the stems and are yellow.  Very rare.
 

 

$6.00

Opro fr2.jpg (135072 bytes) Opuntia robusta
As the name implies, this plant develops giant pads up to 18 inches in diameter and in the ground can get over ten feet tall, with beautiful yellow flowers.  Native to the tropical deciduous forests central Mexico.                                                                                          
 

 

$10.00

Opvi sa 1crop.jpg (83027 bytes) Opuntia santa-rita
This plant  known as 'Purple Prickly Pear' shows these strong colors in the new growth and when the plant is stressed from heat, drought or cold.  Tree-like in habit, it can get to six or more feet in height.  It is native to southern Arizona and has large, yellow flowers.
 

 

 

$5.00

Opsu_2.JPG (126608 bytes) Opuntia sulfurea
This species is a clump forming plant to one foot.  Native to Argentina, it has sulfur-yellow flowers.  
 

$4.00

Opsu 1.JPG (125232 bytes) Opuntia sulfurea A-Clone
This is the best clone of this species that I have seen.  The spines are significantly longer, thicker, and are twisted, and the pads are much thicker than the normal type.  It has a clear yellow flower.  Together, these characteristics make this one of the most dramatic of all Opuntias.  Native to Argentina, this clone is extremely slow growing, with only a few pads available for sale each year.  I now have enough of these to lower the price.
 

 

 

 

$15.00

Opto.JPG (128411 bytes) Opuntia tomentosa
Another tree type of prickly pear to over 10 feet tall.  Red-orange flowers and no long spines, but some small glochids.  The plant has a velvety texture (tomentose).  I listed this incorrectly as O. velutina in the past.  Native to southern Mexico and Guatemala.
 

 


$6.00

Opwi.JPG (143507 bytes) Opuntia wilcoxii
Yellow flowers with deep green colored pads, this species forms clumps to 5 feet tall and somewhat wider.  No long spines, so the pad has a smooth appearance, although it does have glochids.  Distinctive looking plants.  Native to coastal Mexico, from Jalisco to Sonora.
 

 


$6.00