Opuntia Species, Prickly Pear Cactus, Prickly Pear, Barbary Fig

Opuntia maxima

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: maxima (MAKS-ih-muh) (Info)
Additional cultivar information:(Elongated Form)
Synonym:Cactus elongatus
Synonym:Opuntia amyclaea
Synonym:Opuntia decumana
Synonym:Opuntia decumana
Synonym:Opuntia elongata




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


6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)

8-10 ft. (2.4-3 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)

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:

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

From softwood 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:

Chandler Heights, Arizona

Green Valley, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Tucson, Arizona

Yucca, Arizona

El Macero, California

Menifee, California

San Leandro, California

Jonesville, Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Nov 7, 2015, 2QandLearn from Menifee, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This may be what I planted cuttings of years back in our yard. They are 13' now at their highest points. Have orange tinted yellow flowers, and orange tinted (when ripe) fruits with lots of seeds, which have a nice, light, flavor . . . sort of like pears. I just wish the Cochineal insect didn't favor it so much . . . But, the fact that it's growing in heavy clay stresses it & likely makes it more inviting to them. ): I planted them closer together than I should have, so together they are about 20' wide. I also made the mistake of pruning it a bit like a tree . . . which --after a good rain-- often causes at least one very heavy branch to become so heavy that it will snap off . . . so, we stay away from it for a week after a good rain!


On Apr 23, 2012, martenfisher from Crystal River, FL wrote:

I grow at this time 6 varieties of Opuntia ficus-indica. All of my varieties are hertiage varieties dating back hundreds to a couple thousand years. Ficus-indica is a hybrid grown from many Opuntia species. Some varieties were developed in certain locations for different qualities. Not all Opuntia ficus-indica are created equal. I have never had freeze or pest issues and with pruning constant new growth grows. I have some that fruit with very little seed content. My next variety will be the Burbank spineless. This name is constantly used for plants not Burbank but I located true Burbank. He did also work with other species as well. There is a variegated form called " Sunburst".


On Sep 10, 2011, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

This variety or form of O. ficus-indica has elongated cladodes (pads) and is just as edible as the regular O. ficus-indica.

Other synonyms of this plant are: Opuntia lanceolata, Cactus elongatus, Cactus decumanus, Opuntia ficus-indica var. gymnocarpa.


On Feb 27, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Nearly spineless and very neat and attractive Opuntia variety. Great for landscaping and not too dangerous. Not sure what the cold hardiness is. Nice pale sea-green color.