Violet Prickly Pear

Opuntia gosseliniana

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: gosseliniana
Synonym:Opuntia chlorotica var. gosseliniana
Synonym:Opuntia violacea var. gosseliniana


Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 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:

Unknown - Tell us

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


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

Arivaca, Arizona

Chandler Heights, Arizona

Green Valley, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Rio Rico, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Hayward, California

San Leandro, California

Austin, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 26, 2015, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

very attractive Opuntia. It is often confused with Opuntia Santa Rita, and sometimes with Opuntia macrocentra. One way I tell the difference, when not in flower, is Opuntia Santa Rita nearly always has only glochid. This plant often has spines, but only near the top of each pad (rarely if ever at the lower ends of the pads). And Opuntia macrocentra has long single spines all over their pads (black spines often). All have turquoise pads, but Opunita macrocentra rarely has the degree of purple-pink the other two do.


On Aug 27, 2009, Actee from Paris
France wrote:

Unlike many hardy opuntias, this one keep a really good posture, not spreading over the groung. Surely one of the best species for a xeriscapic garden !


On Apr 24, 2009, BayAreaTropics from Hayward, CA wrote:

It took quite a few years to get a small 2" potted plant to get some size-but as it did,the color became intense. Do not overwater as it does rot easily,especially potted. In ground they can still be set back by wet NorCal winters. But,once that summer sunshine starts they are the stars of the Opuntia's.


On Nov 30, 2004, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Often confused with Opuntia santa-rita.
O. gosseliniana has plain yellow flowers, O. santa-rita has yellow flowers with a bright red base.
O. gosseliniana gets to about 3.3 feet high, while Opuntia santa-rita gets to about 6.6 feet high and has larger pads.
O. gosseliniana's pads are thicker but smaller in diameter.

I've seen these growing in the wild on the West Ruby Road Trail in Arizona (South of Tucson), off of Interstate 19 through to Ruby, AZ and on to Arivaca, AZ.