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Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia spp)
prickly pear cactus

DESCRIPTION: Depending on the species, variety, habitat, etc., can grow from 1' to 5' high or even more. Plant is composed of numerous pads (flattened segments). The pads vary in size and shape. Flowers last one day and generally start out yellow, turning to orange as the day progresses. Fruit are reddish to purplish.
NATURAL HISTORY: Fruit are edible, as are young pads (when processed correctly). May reproduce both sexually from the seeds and asexually from fallen pads. O. engelmannii and O. phaeacantha are the most common species.