Mojave Prickly Pear
Scientific Name: Opuntia phaeacantha Engelm.
Synonym: Opuntia angustata, Opuntia phaeacantha var. angustata, Opuntia camanchica, Opuntia phaeacantha var. camanchica, Opuntia phaeacantha ssp. camanchica, Opuntia charlestonensis, Opuntia phaeacantha var. charlestonensis, Opuntia phaeacantha var. major, Opuntia mojavensis, Opuntia phaeacantha var. mojavensis, Opuntia platyacantha fa. mojavensis, Opuntia phaeacantha var. nigricans, Opuntia superbospina, Opuntia phaeacantha var. superbospina, Opuntia woodsii
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Recommended Temperature Zone:|
Frost Tolerance: Hardy to 0°F (-18°C)
Origin: Arizona, Utah, Texas
Growth Habits: Cactus, slow growing up to 3 feet tall (90 cm), 6 to 15 feet in spread (1.8-4.5 m)
Watering Needs: Little water when established
This is one of the most widely distributed prickly pears in the southwestern USA.
The species name "phaeacantha" means "with grey thorns".
The flowers appear in April and May. Originally bright yellow (see picture) they take shades of pinkish orange as they age.
The fruits (called 'tunas') are mahogany and are enjoyed by humans as well as a variety of wild life. When handling it, beware that they are covered with small spines that can embed in your hands and make your life miserable for a while. Peal them under water, or even better, wear gloves.