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Prickly Pear Opuntia humifusa

The range distribution maps for the Prickly Pear are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


The Prickly Pear, also known as the Devils Tongue and Indian Fig, is found throughout the central and eastern portions of the United States.  It is Florida’s most widespread and abundant cactus and is found in most counties.  According to the Institute for Regional Conservation, it is the most common of the eight species of Opuntia found in southern Florida.

This plant is a herbaceous branching cactus that grows to a height of 6-18 inches.  Although it does grow upright, it is frequently seen sprawling along the ground.  It has green flattened fleshy pads about 2-6 inches long that are connected together.  These pads may also have several long gray to whitish spines that one has to be careful of.  Large solitary yellow flowers, around 2-3 inches wide, grow from the tips of the pads.  The flowers bloom during the spring and summer months, but may bloom year round in southern Florida.  These plants like to grow in sandy soils found in pinelands, scrubs, dry open woods and disturbed sites.