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Opuntia Species, Englemann's Prickly Pear Cactus, Texas Prickly Pear Cactus, Cactus Apple

Opuntia engelmannii

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: engelmannii (en-gel-MAH-nee-eye) (Info)
Synonym:Opuntia alta
Synonym:Opuntia cacanapa
Synonym:Opuntia chisosensis
Synonym:Opuntia dillei
Synonym:Opuntia subarmata


Alpines and Rock Gardens

Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


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)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


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

Bloom Color:


Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring



This plant is resistant to deer

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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 seed; sow indoors before last frost

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored


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


Black Canyon City, Arizona

Catalina, Arizona

Cave Creek, Arizona

Fountain Hills, Arizona

Glendale, Arizona

Maricopa, Arizona

Oracle, Arizona

Peridot, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Queen Creek, Arizona

Sedona, Arizona

Tonto Basin, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Young, Arizona

Oak View, California

San Leandro, California

Santa Barbara, California

Washington, District Of Columbia

Merritt Island, Florida

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Roswell, New Mexico

Gene Autry, Oklahoma

Glencoe, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Sulphur, Oklahoma

Turner, Oregon

Arlington, Texas

Ben Wheeler, Texas

Bullard, Texas

Canton, Texas

De Berry, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Fredericksburg, Texas

Frisco, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

Kaufman, Texas

Kermit, Texas

Leander, Texas

Mineral Wells, Texas

Montague, Texas

Naples, Texas

Plano, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Spring Branch, Texas

Terlingua, Texas

Terrell, Texas

Troup, Texas

Tyler, Texas

Ahtanum, Washington

Orchards, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 4, 2012, BajaBlue from Rancho Santa Rita, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

A desert southwestern U.S. native prickly pear. Bears 3" long edible fruits with soft pulp and features colorful yellow flowers. Fruits are very popular with wildlife.

Grows to 4-6 feet, with thick pads and spreading habit to 10-12 feet. Hardy to 10-15F.


On Apr 28, 2012, Peterthecactusguy from Black Canyon City, AZ wrote:

Most people in Arizona that are natives seem to hate cactus, ESP Opuntia, but I have been taught how to make Jam from the fruits of these. It's esp sweet if you use only Opuntia engelmannii. Like others I do not get where you get Texas Prickly Pear from as a common name, it has one.. Engelmann's Prickly Pear...

The glochids are a pain and all but really I love these cactus.


On Aug 10, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:

I picked up a 'lobe' from one of these plants off the street probably 15 years ago and the plant has made many children since then...although I have not had any blooms! I love the architectural structure and the sturdiness is appealing -- as well as the coloring. I haven't used them as vegetables yet, but -- might as well as the plant grows so easily and keeps making new 'lobes' all the time.


On Dec 23, 2004, TucsonJen from Tucson, AZ (Zone 9a) wrote:

I hadn't before heard of a regular engelmannii being called a "Texas prickly pear." I was under the impression that the name "Texas" was used for Opuntia engelmannii var. texana or for Opuntia lindheimeri (or Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri).

Anyway, engelmannii grows wild in my area and is easily (unless you're afraid of a little blood....) propagated through cuttings. It survives darn near any weather conditions of the desert but javelina will eat the lower pads and entire young plants.

White spots (cochineal scale insect) on the pads should be hosed off but pinch a few first to see the nifty red dye. :)


On Nov 6, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Other synonyms include:
Opuntia microcarpa, Opuntia procumbens, Opuntia tricolor & Opuntia tardospina.

This is also one of the more popular Prickly Pear's used for making Jams & Jellies especially the 'lindheimeri' variety.


On Aug 31, 2004, ElmCreek from Elm Creek, Manitoba,
Canada wrote:

This plant goes extremely well in Manitoba Canada. It can be found in sandy areas and in the desert at Glenboro, Manitoba Canada. It does not need much moisture and does extremely well along the southside of building in the hot sun. The flowers are beautiful, but only last for about 24 hours. If a peice of the plant is broken off and laid on top of the ground it will root in a matter of days. When transplanting or removing the easiest way I have found to handle these is to use a pitch fork. There is no need to dig them out or dig a hole to put them in as with most plants. They also work well for keeping animals out of flower beds due to their long spikes. When working with these plants a pair of rubber gloves is preferred over leather as their thorns, both long and short will work through ... read more


On Apr 30, 2004, MaryBarrow wrote:

this is a protected plant in Ontario
it grows in the wild at Point Pelee National Park,
(Cdn Hardiness zone 6b)
which is at a latitude comparable to northern California

the flowers are absolutely AMAZING!
BEWARE the spines... there are some that form on the 'stem' of the flowers that are almost invisible to the eye, incredibly painful and difficult to remove if you get stuck

I can understand how they'd be considered a nuisance in warmer climates