Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Black-Spine Prickly Pear, Purple Prickly Pear, Red-joint Prickly Pear, Texas Santa Rita
Opuntia macrocentra

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: macrocentra (mak-roh-SEN-truh) (Info)

Synonym:Opuntia violacea var. macrocentra
Synonym:Opuntia violacea var. castetteri

20 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
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

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

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

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
Allow cut surface to callous over before planting
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

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There are a total of 36 photos.
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6 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive floating_stump On May 10, 2014, floating_stump from Grafton, WI wrote:

O. Macrocentra. I bought this plant from Cold Hardy Cactus in Colorado. The seller rated it to zone 6, but I took a chance here in zone 5. It survived -10F with little trouble. This past winter was brutal, and dropped below -15F, into zone 4 temps, and the cactus died. My microclimate may vary from yours, though.

It made it through three Springs before it bloomed, last July. The flowers had yellow petals, fading to orange at the bottom. The pads are on the bluish side of green, with a purple tinge in places, especially when it's cold. My plant had only a few, dark spines.

Positive glochid15 On Jan 20, 2011, glochid15 from Parsons, KS (Zone 6b) wrote:

Survived a winter in zone 6a without problems, although only with perfect drainage. Flowers are generally yellow or yellow-orange, and have a reddish throat.

Positive Chantell On Jun 20, 2007, Chantell from Middle of, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Planted a pad of this last year - hoping, with a lot of grit, that it might survive our winters in 7A. Not only did it survive...but blessed me with gorgeous bloom!! We did have a mild time will tell.

Positive angele On May 15, 2005, angele wrote:

One of the more common Opuntia in my area. Some zone maps classify this part of New Mexico as zone 7b while others as 8a. This cactus is very beautiful in my opinion.

Positive Xenomorf On Jun 20, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Also known as "Texas Santa-Rita", "Long-Spined Prickly Pear", "Blunt-Spined Prickly Pear", & "Reddish Purple Prickly Pear"
Flowers are yellow with bright red centers.

The variety 'macrocentra' pads are 6-8 inches long and the 'minor' variety's pads are 4-6 inches long.
The 'macrocentra' variety is dull dark green with some purple, and the 'minor' variety is Blueish-green.
The 'macrocentra's fruit is dark purple-red, and the 'minor's fruit are bright pink-red.

Positive palmbob On Mar 28, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Attractive species with pale greenish purple pads (nearly white sometimes) to an incredible turquoise coloration... and sparse, but long black spines. Forms a large spread-out shrub eventually. Probably one of the more colorful and beautiful Opuntia species (to me).


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

Phoenix, Arizona
Safford, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Canoga Park, California
Davis, California
Hemet, California
San Marino, California
Parsons, Kansas
Elephant Butte, New Mexico
La Luz, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Croton On Hudson, New York
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Awendaw, South Carolina
Austin, Texas
Boerne, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Kermit, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Stafford, Virginia

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