Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Road Kill Cactus
Consolea rubescens

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Consolea (kon-SO-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: rubescens (roo-BES-enz) (Info)

Synonym:Opuntia rubescens
Synonym:Opuntia guanicana
Synonym:Consolea guanicana

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)
10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)
12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)
6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

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:
Mid Spring
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
Suitable for growing in containers

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 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

Click thumbnail
to view:

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #1 of Consolea rubescens by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #2 of Consolea rubescens by Xenomorf

By palmbob
Thumbnail #3 of Consolea rubescens by palmbob

By cactus_lover
Thumbnail #4 of Consolea rubescens by cactus_lover

By cactus_lover
Thumbnail #5 of Consolea rubescens by cactus_lover

By Kalpavriksha
Thumbnail #6 of Consolea rubescens by Kalpavriksha

By Kalpavriksha
Thumbnail #7 of Consolea rubescens by Kalpavriksha

There are a total of 14 photos.
Click here to view them all!


4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive caspiel On Jun 4, 2014, caspiel from Brookfield, IL wrote:

I planted a small Road Kill in a container last spring and kept it outside all summer. In the fall, I transplanted it into a larger container. I brought it inside for the winter and, to my surprise, it survived...and thrived! It's almost 2 feet tall now and it's been back outside for the season for about two weeks (no more frost in the forecast!). A couple of the tall spikes and many of the smaller offshoots have started to wilt. I haven't over watered it. Any thoughts on why this might be happening??

Positive ogrejelly On Aug 16, 2011, ogrejelly from Gilbert, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Nice rich green plant with an almost cartoon like appearance. It looks like it becomes more tree as it grows. It takes the AZ sun well and it has made it through a 27 degree frost with just a cover. Slight damage to the top tips of the plant but nothing else. It appears dormant in the winter but grows pretty fast when the temps are in the 90's. Frost damage seemed to cause more branching later in the spring.

I have not seen it flower yet but will post a photo if I ever do.

Positive dustytrayl On Jan 2, 2011, dustytrayl from Surprise, AZ wrote:

My Roadkill started as a four inch cute lil cactus. Unbeknownst to me, it is now a ten foot tree like behemouth!!
Road kill is named as such for the very flat pads that form the arms. Looks like they have been run over by a truck! I plan on trying them as a food source much as a prickly pear. Has anyone already tried this? If so, I would like to know your experience.

Neutral Xenomorf On Oct 27, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

When someone gave me a piece of this, and said it was 'roadkill cactus'. I thought they were serious that it had been run over by a car, thats how it looked, anyway. Until it rooted it, and gave it extra water, then it perked right up.
Later I found out that was the popular common name.

Positive palmbob On Jul 25, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Tree-like prickly pear cactus from the Caribbean Islands. Not sure why it's called Road Kill Cactus... anyone know?


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

Chandler Heights, Arizona
Gilbert, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Surprise, Arizona
Pleasant Hill, California
San Diego, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Marathon, Florida
Sarasota, Florida
North Las Vegas, Nevada

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