Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Englemann's Prickly Pear Cactus, Texas Prickly Pear Cactus, Cactus Apple
Opuntia engelmannii

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: engelmannii (en-gel-MAH-nee-eye) (Info)

Synonym:Opuntia engelmannii var. engelmannii
Synonym:Opuntia discata
Synonym:Opuntia engelmannii var. discata
Synonym:Opuntia phaeacantha var. discata
Synonym:Opuntia dillei

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

Alpines and Rock Gardens
Cactus and Succulents

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
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)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun
Sun to Partial Shade

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

Bloom Color:
Gold (Yellow-Orange)
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Mid Spring


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is resistant to deer

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 seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Opuntia engelmannii by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Opuntia engelmannii by Xenomorf

By Gabrielle
Thumbnail #3 of Opuntia engelmannii by Gabrielle

By QCHammy
Thumbnail #4 of Opuntia engelmannii by QCHammy

By QCHammy
Thumbnail #5 of Opuntia engelmannii by QCHammy

By QCHammy
Thumbnail #6 of Opuntia engelmannii by QCHammy

By shabbyaby
Thumbnail #7 of Opuntia engelmannii by shabbyaby

There are a total of 36 photos.
Click here to view them all!


7 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive BajaBlue On May 4, 2012, BajaBlue from Rancho Santa Rita, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

A desert southwestern U.S. native prickly pear. Bears 3" long edible fruits with soft pulp and features colorful yellow flowers. Fruits are very popular with wildlife.

Grows to 4-6 feet, with thick pads and spreading habit to 10-12 feet. Hardy to 10-15F.

Positive Peterthecactusguy On Apr 28, 2012, Peterthecactusguy from Black Canyon City, AZ wrote:

Most people in Arizona that are natives seem to hate cactus, ESP Opuntia, but I have been taught how to make Jam from the fruits of these. It's esp sweet if you use only Opuntia engelmannii. Like others I do not get where you get Texas Prickly Pear from as a common name, it has one.. Engelmann's Prickly Pear...

The glochids are a pain and all but really I love these cactus.

Positive Opoetree On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

I picked up a 'lobe' from one of these plants off the street probably 15 years ago and the plant has made many children since then...although I have not had any blooms! I love the architectural structure and the sturdiness is appealing -- as well as the coloring. I haven't used them as vegetables yet, but -- might as well as the plant grows so easily and keeps making new 'lobes' all the time.

Positive TucsonJen On Dec 23, 2004, TucsonJen from Tucson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

I hadn't before heard of a regular engelmannii being called a "Texas prickly pear." I was under the impression that the name "Texas" was used for Opuntia engelmannii var. texana or for Opuntia lindheimeri (or Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri).

Anyway, engelmannii grows wild in my area and is easily (unless you're afraid of a little blood....) propagated through cuttings. It survives darn near any weather conditions of the desert but javelina will eat the lower pads and entire young plants.

White spots (cochineal scale insect) on the pads should be hosed off but pinch a few first to see the nifty red dye. :)

Positive Xenomorf On Nov 6, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Other synonyms include:
Opuntia microcarpa, Opuntia procumbens, Opuntia tricolor & Opuntia tardospina.

This is also one of the more popular Prickly Pear's used for making Jams & Jellies especially the 'lindheimeri' variety.

Positive ElmCreek On Aug 31, 2004, ElmCreek from Elm Creek, Manitoba
Canada wrote:

This plant goes extremely well in Manitoba Canada. It can be found in sandy areas and in the desert at Glenboro, Manitoba Canada. It does not need much moisture and does extremely well along the southside of building in the hot sun. The flowers are beautiful, but only last for about 24 hours. If a peice of the plant is broken off and laid on top of the ground it will root in a matter of days. When transplanting or removing the easiest way I have found to handle these is to use a pitch fork. There is no need to dig them out or dig a hole to put them in as with most plants. They also work well for keeping animals out of flower beds due to their long spikes. When working with these plants a pair of rubber gloves is preferred over leather as their thorns, both long and short will work through the leather and are impossible to get out.Note this plant survives our winters without any winter preparation.Our winter temperature can get down to -40 degrees and come spring the growth conitinues where it left off in the fall.

Positive MaryBarrow On Apr 30, 2004, MaryBarrow wrote:

this is a protected plant in Ontario
it grows in the wild at Point Pelee National Park,
(Cdn Hardiness zone 6b)
which is at a latitude comparable to northern California

the flowers are absolutely AMAZING!
BEWARE the spines... there are some that form on the 'stem' of the flowers that are almost invisible to the eye, incredibly painful and difficult to remove if you get stuck

I can understand how they'd be considered a nuisance in warmer climates


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

Black Canyon City, Arizona
Catalina, Arizona
Cave Creek, Arizona
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Glendale, Arizona
Maricopa, Arizona
Oracle, Arizona
Peridot, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Queen Creek, Arizona
Sedona, Arizona
Tonto Basin, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Young, Arizona
Oak View, California
San Leandro, California
Santa Barbara, California
Washington, District Of Columbia
Merritt Island, Florida
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Roswell, New Mexico
Gene Autry, Oklahoma
Glencoe, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sulphur, Oklahoma
Turner, Oregon
Arlington, Texas
Ben Wheeler, Texas
Canton, Texas
De Berry, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Fredericksburg, Texas
Frisco, Texas
Kaufman, Texas
Kermit, Texas
Leander, Texas
Mineral Wells, Texas
Montague, Texas
Naples, Texas
Plano, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Spring Branch, Texas
Terlingua, Texas
Terrell, Texas
Troup, Texas
Ahtanum, Washington

We recommend Firefox
Overwhelmed? There's a lot to see here. Try starting at our homepage.

[ Home | About | Advertise | Media Kit | Mission | Featured Companies | Submit an Article | Terms of Use | Tour | Rules | Privacy Policy | Contact Us ]

Back to the top

Copyright © 2000-2015 Dave's Garden, an Internet Brands company. All Rights Reserved.

Hope for America