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Road Kill Cactus

Consolea rubescens

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Consolea (kon-SO-lee-uh) (Info)
Species: rubescens (roo-BES-enz) (Info)
Synonym:Opuntia rubescens
Synonym:Opuntia guanicana
Synonym:Consolea guanicana



Cactus and Succulents

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)

12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)

15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


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


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

Bloom Color:



Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:

Mid Spring

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

Gilbert, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Surprise, Arizona

Pleasant Hill, California

San Diego, California

Thousand Oaks, California

Marathon, Florida

Sarasota, Florida

Titusville, Florida

North Las Vegas, Nevada

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On May 10, 2017, 2QandLearn from Menifee, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

This plant LOOKS like an Opuntia, and has previously been CALLED 'Opuntia', --BUT-- it is NOT an Opuntia. It is instead: "Consolea rubescens": [[email protected]] So . . . Not sure if it is edible, or, not. (Another commentor said they were going to try eating it.)

"...Sometimes freakishly flattened Cacti that are also lumped into the Opuntia genus by many nurseries and botanical gardens turn out to be *>ANOTHER GENUS


On Jun 4, 2016, FlaFlower from Titusville, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

I also received this as a cutting a few years ago.
Now its over 6 foot with a good sturdy trunk base and out stretched arms. It bloomed for me this year for the first time in wonderful double orange flowers. Its no trouble requires nothing but full sun and dry. Mines in a raised bottomless bed 12 inches higher than the yard. I feel it could be considered thornless even the glockoids aren't bothersome being mostly subsunk in the pads


On Jun 4, 2014, caspiel from Brookfield, IL wrote:

I planted a small Road Kill in a container last spring and kept it outside all summer. In the fall, I transplanted it into a larger container. I brought it inside for the winter and, to my surprise, it survived...and thrived! It's almost 2 feet tall now and it's been back outside for the season for about two weeks (no more frost in the forecast!). A couple of the tall spikes and many of the smaller offshoots have started to wilt. I haven't over watered it. Any thoughts on why this might be happening??


On Aug 16, 2011, ogrejelly from Gilbert, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Nice rich green plant with an almost cartoon like appearance. It looks like it becomes more tree as it grows. It takes the AZ sun well and it has made it through a 27 degree frost with just a cover. Slight damage to the top tips of the plant but nothing else. It appears dormant in the winter but grows pretty fast when the temps are in the 90's. Frost damage seemed to cause more branching later in the spring.

I have not seen it flower yet but will post a photo if I ever do.


On Jan 2, 2011, dustytrayl from Surprise, AZ wrote:

My Roadkill started as a four inch cute lil cactus. Unbeknownst to me, it is now a ten foot tree like behemouth!!
Road kill is named as such for the very flat pads that form the arms. Looks like they have been run over by a truck! I plan on trying them as a food source much as a prickly pear. Has anyone already tried this? If so, I would like to know your experience.


On Oct 27, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

When someone gave me a piece of this, and said it was 'roadkill cactus'. I thought they were serious that it had been run over by a car, thats how it looked, anyway. Until it rooted it, and gave it extra water, then it perked right up.
Later I found out that was the popular common name.


On Jul 25, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Tree-like prickly pear cactus from the Caribbean Islands. Not sure why it's called Road Kill Cactus... anyone know?