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Engelmann's Prickly Pear, Cactus Apple

Opuntia engelmannii

Details & Attributes


Plant Type(s) Cactus, succulent, perennial
Native to Arizona Yes!
Water Needs Low
Sun Full sun
Pollinators Bees
Has Spines Yes
Size
In relative feet, width by height
3-5 × 4-8
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season April-July
Flower Color Yellow
Minimum Temperature Range -10 °F
Leaf Description Flat cladodes (pads)
Fruit Red, plump
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Range Map View SEINet Range Map
Elevation Range 1000-9000 ft.
Ethnobotany A poultice of the heated plant applied to the breasts was an aid for breast-feeding; the ripe tunas (fruit) are eaten fresh, dried, ground, mixed with corn meal, used as a red dye, fermented for a beverage, and made into a syrup; the tender pads are eaten as nopalitos.
Description Engelmann's prickly pear is found throughout much of the state at a variety of elevations. Like most cacti it performs best given good drainage and plenty of sun. This is a bushy prickly pear which is typically wider than it is tall. Pads can be variable but are usually round and fairly thin, though sometimes pads can be elongated. Pads are a yellowish green with aereoles (bumps that house spines) in diagonal rows along the pad surface. A reliable prickly pear at almost any elevation in the state.