Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Creeping Cactus, Little Prickly Pear
Opuntia pusilla

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: pusilla (pus-ILL-uh) (Info)

Synonym:Cactus pusillus
Synonym:Opuntia drummondii
Synonym:Opuntia tracyi
Synonym:Opuntia macateei
Synonym:Opuntia pes-corvi

One vendor has this plant for sale.

7 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

under 6 in. (15 cm)
6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)
15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

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:
Pale 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
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 cactus_lover
Thumbnail #1 of Opuntia pusilla by cactus_lover


No positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral wtliftr On Jul 21, 2007, wtliftr from Wilson's Mills, NC wrote:

This plant grows extensively on NC's Barrier Islands. Incredibly easy to propagate from cuttings. Jointed pads break off readily. EXTREMELY sharp, barbed spines- use gloves when handling. Also beware of the glochids. Being a prickly pear, the plant and fruit are edible. Fruit is kind of sweet.

Neutral Xenomorf On Jan 7, 2005, Xenomorf from Valley of the Sun, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Fruit is not known of this species. Blooms are large and pale yellow.


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

Coushatta, Louisiana
Hatteras, North Carolina
Sweetwater, Tennessee

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