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Opuntia Species, Black-Spine Prickly Pear, Purple Prickly Pear, Red-joint Prickly Pear, Texas Santa

Opuntia macrocentra

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: macrocentra (mak-roh-SEN-truh) (Info)
Synonym:Opuntia violacea var. macrocentra
Synonym:Opuntia violacea var. castetteri
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Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


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)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Bloom Color:


Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

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:

Phoenix, Arizona

Safford, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Canoga Park, California

Davis, California

Hayward, California

Hemet, California

San Marino, California

Parsons, Kansas

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Elephant Butte, New Mexico

La Luz, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico (2 reports)

Croton On Hudson, New York

Tipp City, Ohio

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Awendaw, South Carolina

Austin, Texas

Boerne, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Kermit, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

South Jordan, Utah

Stafford, Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On May 11, 2015, Cactus68NM from Albuquerque, NM wrote:

Survived the past 6 winters in Albuquerque. Including 8 inches of snow an inch or less of ice and temps as low as 12 degrees.


On May 10, 2014, floating_stump from Grafton, WI wrote:

O. Macrocentra. I bought this plant from Cold Hardy Cactus in Colorado. The seller rated it to zone 6, but I took a chance here in zone 5. It survived -10F with little trouble. This past winter was brutal, and dropped below -15F, into zone 4 temps, and the cactus died. My microclimate may vary from yours, though.

It made it through three Springs before it bloomed, last July. The flowers had yellow petals, fading to orange at the bottom. The pads are on the bluish side of green, with a purple tinge in places, especially when it's cold. My plant had only a few, dark spines.


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

Survived a winter in zone 6a without problems, although only with perfect drainage. Flowers are generally yellow or yellow-orange, and have a reddish throat.


On Jun 20, 2007, Chantell from Middle of, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

Planted a pad of this last year - hoping, with a lot of grit, that it might survive our winters in 7A. Not only did it survive...but blessed me with gorgeous bloom!! We did have a mild winter...so time will tell.


On May 15, 2005, angele wrote:

One of the more common Opuntia in my area. Some zone maps classify this part of New Mexico as zone 7b while others as 8a. This cactus is very beautiful in my opinion.


On Jun 20, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Also known as "Texas Santa-Rita", "Long-Spined Prickly Pear", "Blunt-Spined Prickly Pear", & "Reddish Purple Prickly Pear"
Flowers are yellow with bright red centers.

The variety 'macrocentra' pads are 6-8 inches long and the 'minor' variety's pads are 4-6 inches long.
The 'macrocentra' variety is dull dark green with some purple, and the 'minor' variety is Blueish-green.
The 'macrocentra's fruit is dark purple-red, and the 'minor's fruit are bright pink-red.


On Mar 28, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Attractive species with pale greenish purple pads (nearly white sometimes) to an incredible turquoise coloration... and sparse, but long black spines. Forms a large spread-out shrub eventually. Probably one of the more colorful and beautiful Opuntia species (to me).