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Opuntia, Cliff Prickly Pear, Hedgehog, Juniper Prickly Pear, Heacock's Prickly Pear 'Dark Knight'

Opuntia polyacantha var. rhodantha

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: polyacantha var. rhodantha
Cultivar: Dark Knight
Hybridized by Barr
Synonym:Opuntia rhodantha


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)

USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)

USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)

USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)

USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)

USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Bloom Color:

Fuchsia (red-purple)

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

7.9 to 8.5 (alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From herbaceous stem cuttings

From woody stem cuttings

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds


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

Frankfort, Illinois

Parsons, Kansas

High Rolls Mountain Park, New Mexico

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 13, 2011, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Long white spines on purple medium sized pads. Low growing and sprawling to about 4 feet wide. The flowers are a brilliant deep pink in June.


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

To me, this plant more closely resembles Opuntia phaeacantha, but it is hard to tell. The plant has the deepest purple I've ever seen for an opuntia, especially so in winter. The flowers are a brilliant dark pink color and appear in late spring. It seems to be rather hard to find, even in specialty cactus nurseries. Easily propagated through pad cuttings.


On Jun 8, 2009, shindagger from Oklahoma City, OK wrote:

I purchased a pad of this cactus from Cold Hardy Cactus in Colorado. It has very dark purple pads in winter, the color of grape koolaid, with contrasting white spines. The new pad growth is magenta. It has not bloomed yet but the parent plant has pink blooms. An interesting polyacantha.