This little known and rarely grown prickly pear grows into a head-high plant with a tree-like branching structure. South American in origin, it is native to Cercado province, Cochabamba, Bolivia. Several short stout gray "trunks" give rise to upright or spreading branches composed of large succulent pads. Although resembling leaves (and treated as such in the following list of characteristics), the pads are actually swollen stem segments. The blue-green, diamond shaped or oblong segments are dotted...
Beautiful icy blue stem pads and big bold flowers distinguish this low-growing cactus as one of the most garden-worthy pricklypears. The magenta to red, gold-centered flowers of this North American desert native are sometimes nearly as broad as the beaver-tail shaped pads which bear them. They bloom in late winter and early spring, in response to winter rains. Tan, dry-fleshed, relatively small prickly pears follow the flowers. Plants spread to form broad, calf-high clumps, with each stem comprising...
The large, round, pale blue-green pads of this often tree-like prickly pear make a fine contrast with painted backgrounds or darker cacti. Although resembling large succulent leaves, the pads are in fact swollen stem segments (but are treated as foliage in the following description of characteristics). The upright stems of this head-high cactus are often six or more pads long. They typically arise from a stout short trunk. They are wickedly armed with formidable golden spines and tiny barbed glochids...
(Paper Spine Cactus, Spruce Cone Cactus)
This curious Argentine cactus has fragile erect stems composed of cone-shaped segments. The stems resemble a string of beads. Prominent tubercules and clusters of silvery spines are spirally arranged along the segments. Some forms lack spines. The stems fragment readily if jostled or bumped. A shy bloomer, this cactus sometimes produces white to pinkish, cup-shaped flowers in spring or early summer. The fruits that follow are barrel shaped, dry-fleshed, and very thin walled.
This plant prospers...
(Santa Fe Giant Pricklypear)
A fascinating Galapagos Islands endemic that varies markedly from island to island, this pricklypear cactus ranges in size from a low shrub to a thick-trunked, two-story-tall "tree." Stems composed of large rounded yellow green to blue green pads are borne either in shrubby clumps or along tree-like branches. The stems of tree-like forms are often pendent, lending a weeping character, and their trunks typically have striking mahogany-red "bark." Stem segments are dotted with geometrically arranged...
James H. Schutte
(Spineless pricklypear, Tigertongue)
This handsome, shrubby, wide-spreading pricklypear resembles Opuntia ficus-indica - but without the spines. A presumed native of Mexico, it is known only in cultivation in the United States. The oval, blue-green, paddle-shaped stem segments are dotted with spirally arranged areoles. Although the areoles lack spines, they are well armed with glochids (barbed hair-like bristles) that readily penetrate skin or clothing. Large, cup-shaped, deep yellow flowers appear on the outermost stem segments...
James H. Schutte
(Texas Cactus Apple)
Few cacti show greater variability than Opuntia engelmannii, of which at least four forms are botanically recognized. A large, upright, spreading plant with round, flattened, spiny pads, variety lindheimeri is native from the south-central and southwestern United States into northern Mexico. It is naturalized in South Africa, where it is considered an noxious weed. The pads (which resemble large succulent leaves but in fact are swollen stem segments) are sometimes broader than long,and...
Few cacti show greater variability than Opuntia engelmannii, of which at least four forms are botanically recognized. A large, upright, spreading plant dubbed cow’s tongue for its narrowly oval pads, variety linguiformis is thought to be native to central Texas, although it is widely planted and naturalized in the south-central and southwestern United States. The pads (which resemble large succulent leaves but in fact are swollen stem segments) sometimes measure more than a meter...