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Opuntia Species, Creeping Beavertail, Golden Pricklypear, Yellow Beavertail

Opuntia aurea

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: aurea (AW-re-uh) (Info)
Synonym:Opuntia lubrica var. aurea
Synonym:Opuntia erinacea var. aurea
Synonym:Opuntia basilaris var. aurea


Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)


15-18 in. (38-45 cm)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


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)

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:


Pale Yellow

Bright Yellow

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:

6.1 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:

Black Canyon City, Arizona

Bostonia, California

Livermore, California

Paradise, California

Raleigh, North Carolina

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

South Jordan, Utah

Springdale, Utah

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


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

This plant is native to Southern Utah and perhaps into parts of Northern Arizona. I have a pink flowering one that was sent to me by a gardener in Nevada. It grows well here in Arizona. It has glochids and spines. It's worth the glochids to get the bright pink/purplish flower. It hybridizes well with O. engelmannii creating a red flowered hybrid. I have yet to breed them, I had one flower this year, I will be getting some more plants from someone in Utah to increase my chances.

I love Opuntia for their form and their flowers. Yes they have glochids. They hurt. But at the same time I will brave them all and let Opuntia take over my yard for when they have flowers.


On Jun 24, 2011, ogon from Paradise, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Very cold tolerant. I found it growing with a thin covering of snow and ice in Zion Park, Utah. I can't attest to the flowers as it was January and not in bloom, but it was everywhere and very pretty in its natural setting.


On Oct 23, 2010, beckstrommarc from Livermore, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

Another syn. for Opuntia aurea is (syn. Opuntia basilaris var. woodburyi), as a variety of O. basilaris, its publication was never official excepted.


On May 7, 2006, Baa wrote:

Magenta flowers may occur in this species through introgression.


On Sep 4, 2004, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

From Utah. Spineless, but still has glochids.