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Plant Profile  
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Common Name: Prickly Pear

Other Names: Plains Prickly Pear, Twistspine Prickly Pear, Bigroot Prickly Pear

Species Name: Opuntia macrorhiza

Plant Type: Forb

Family Name:  Cactaceae, Cactus Family






Plant Facts  
Origin Native
Duration Perennial
Distribution in the U.S. Great Plains and tallgrass prairie from South Dakota to southern California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana; can occur as far east as Ohio and Kentucky
Distribution in Oklahoma Throughout the state



ID Characteristics

  • Field Identification Characteristics


    • Jointed, flattened pads
    • Has more than 2 long spines radiating from scattered points across pad
    • Can form large patches


    • Flowers yellow and showy; fruits large and purplish-red
  • Leaf and Stem Characteristics
    • Leaf Type: Modified into spines
    • Leaf Arrangement: Spines in clusters
    • Stipules: Absent
  • Floral Characteristics
    • Petal Number: Many petaloid parts
    • Flower Color: Yellow
    • Flower Timing: May-July
    • Fruit Type: Berries



Soil Type Varying
Habitat Dry prairies and open forests
Successional Stage Mid to late


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