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Opuntia cacanapa

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: cacanapa
Synonym:Opuntia tricolor


Cactus and Succulents


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer




Other details:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From woody stem cuttings

From softwood cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Livermore, California

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 11, 2010, beckstrommarc from Livermore, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Opuntia cacanapa 'Tiger tongue Prickly Pear'


On Jul 31, 2009, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Originally described by Griffiths & Hare 1906, strangely Andersons compendium "The Cactus Family" does not list it, but I still think Anderson did a great job listing most of the Opuntia's. The cultivar of this species 'Ellisiana' is a garden cultivar with narrower pads and no spines and no glochids to speak of.
Opuntia cacanapa is found in nature on limestone outcroppings & steap slopes.
Ranging from the east edge of the Chihuahuan Desert to the Gulf Coast, and from Sanderson & Fort Stockton in TX to about Pachuca in Mexico. The further north you go in that range, the more they start looking like the 'Ellisiana' cultivar, but not quite exactly the same.