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Opuntia humifusa

Opuntia humifusa
eastern prickly-pear

Synonym(s) Opuntia compressa
Common name eastern prickly-pear
Family cactaceae
Life cycle perennial (Z3-9)
Flowers yellow (June)
Size 12"
Light sun
Cultural notes well-drained soil

Opuntia humifusa
Cool burgundy fruits in October

One of the common names for opuntia species is "beaver tail", describing the flat pads. The pads get deflated over winter, but reliably plump up in spring. They are covered in nasty little prickles - not so much sharp and spiny as persistent and irritating. But a little extra care in handling is more than worth it for the late-spring flower display which covers each of the pads with many yellow blooms. Grow new ones by pushing a broken-off pad into some soil - they root easily.

eastern prickly-pear
By December, the pads start shriveling up
Opuntia humifusa

We left this plant behind in our Pennsylvania garden (and wish it well); we don't grow it in Houston.

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