article source is plants.ces.ncsu.edu
- Prickly-pear is a native evergreen succulent found in coastal dunes, sandy riverbeds, and pine forests.
- It is a fast-growing, shrubby cactus with heights of up to 20 feet (ca. 6 m).
- Its short trunk may reach 8 inches (ca. 20 cm) in diameter. It grows best in areas that have lots of sun, light, and minimal water.
- In hot, arid climates it can be grown outdoors in a bed or container.
- Great for xeriscaping and easy to transplant. Seeds must ripen for a year+ before germination occurs. Edible fruits and leaf pads. Prickly spines and irritating hairs.
- O. mesacantha is a prostrate plant that may branch in all directions to 1 m across.
- Cladodes may be spined or unspined and are smooth in outline, obovate or rotund, occasionally elliptical.
- Spines are stout (0.95-1.3 mm in diameter).
- Flowers are pure yellow with no red. Fruits are reddish at maturity. Seeds are 5.0-5.9 mm long.
- O. mesacantha and O. lata are difficult to differentiate in the field, but Adanick et al., 2019 developed a method to measure stomates in the field and differentiate the two taxa easily.
- Like other eastern prickly pears, O. mesacantha colonizes sandy or rocky areas that become dry between rains.
- Opuntiamesacantha is tetraploid.
Landscape Location: Container, Patio, Pool/Hardscape,
Landscape Theme: Butterfly Garden.
Garden Design Feature: Accent Attracts: Bees Butterflies Small Mammals Songbirds
Resistance To Challenges: Drought
Recommended Propagation Strategy: Leaf Cutting Seed
Country Or Region Of Origin: Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay
Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
Heat and drought tolerant.
Edibility: The fruits are edible.