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Opuntia Species, Coastal Prickly Pear, Erect Pricklypear Cactus, Yaaxpakan

Opuntia stricta

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Opuntia (op-UN-shee-a) (Info)
Species: stricta (STRIK-tuh) (Info)


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


12-18 in. (30-45 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)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 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


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

Bloom Color:

Gold (Yellow-Orange)

Pale Yellow

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

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:

Big Pine Key, Florida

Boca Raton, Florida

Venice, Florida

Dallas, Georgia

Salem, Kentucky

Laurel, Maryland

Denver, North Carolina

New Braunfels, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Feb 23, 2016, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

The World Conservation Union has included this species in their list of 100 of the world's worst invasive species, one of only 32 terrestrial species so singled out. [[email protected]]

In the US, its native range is widely scattered from Texas to Virginia and coastal Florida. In Florida, it has been declared "Threatened".

It is also native to eastern Mexico, central America, northern South America, and the islands of the Caribbean.
Outside its native range, it has often proved invasive, as in Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Australia. In Australia, this has been a classic success story, as its invasiveness there was tamed through biological contr... read more


On Aug 26, 2008, urgrace from New Braunfels, TX wrote:

Opuntia stricta, commonly known as Erect Prickly Pear, is a nearly spineless form of prickly pear cactus. We call it Unprickly Pear. It doesn't even have to be planted, but can make new growths just from a cutting of a flat, rounded platyclade laid on top of the ground. It has lemon yellow flowers in the spring and summer, followed by purplish-red fruits called figs. The blooms only last a day or two, and they are almost translucent. The plant is cold and drought tolerant. Opuntia can spread into large clonal colonies, which can be considered a noxious weed if you don't cut them back. Many homeowners use this plant in their xeroscapes. It has many uses besides landscaping, including medicinal, dyes, food and candy making.


On Jan 19, 2005, Xenomorf from Phoenix, AZ (Zone 9b) wrote:

Flowers are yellow to a yellowish-orange. This species has been widespread by humankind and has become to be considered a noxious weed in some areas. (but not all). It can still be utilized as a landscape plant if kept trimmed.
Originating from Southeastern USA, eastern Mexico and Cuba.

Addditional synonyms include: Opuntia inermis, Opuntia ochrocentra var. inermis, Opuntia vulgaris var. balaerica, Consolea bahamana & Opuntia airampo.