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Santa Rita Prickly Pear

Opuntia santa-rita

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' × 3-5'
Freeze Tolerant No
Flowering Season April-June
Flower Color Yellow
Minimum Temperature Range 0 °F
Leaf Description Purple or greenish/blue pads
Fruit Purple, barrel shaped
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Elevation Range 3000-5000 ft.
Ethnobotany Used widely as an ornamental plant because of its coloration.
Description This is perhaps the best loved prickly pear for landscaping due to its showy purple pads and neat, upright form. This species occurs naturally just in southeastern Arizona but it is a suitable landscaping plant for gardens across much of the state. This interesting prickly pear has blue-purple pads which become especially vibrant with sun exposure or cold stress. Flowers are a canary yellow and followed by purple fruits. A good plant to mix with other cold hardy cacti and succulents such as cane cholla (Cylindropuntia spinosior), desert spoon (Dasylirion wheeleri), and banana yucca (Yucca baccata).