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Coast Prickly Pear
Opuntia littoralis

About Coast Prickly Pear (Opuntia littoralis) A species of prickly pear cactus known by the common name coastal prickly pear. It is native to southern California and Baja California, where it grows in coastal sage scrub and chaparral habitat. The cactus is variable in appearance; there are several varieties and hybrids with similar species are commonly found. It generally grows in dense clumps spreading several meters wide and up to a meter tall. The branches are made up of oval-shaped flat segments up to 22 centimeters long. It is covered in clusters of yellowish spines 2 to 4 centimeters long. The flowers are yellow or red. The fruit is edible, purplish red and up to 5 centimeters long. An important wildlife plant.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Shrub, Succulent

Max. Height
3.3 ft (1 m)

Flower Color
Yellow, Purple, Red

Flowering Season

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type


Elevation ?
-293' - 6476'

Annual Precip. ?
7.9" - 37.4"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.20"

Coldest Month ?
34.2° F - 57.5° F

Hottest Month ?
59.7° F - 80.4° F

Humidity ?
0.88 vpd - 29.42 vpd

Soil Description
Prefers sand or sandstone


Sunset Zones ?
14*, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 22*, 23*, 24*

Landscaping Information
Ease of Care
Very Easy

Water Requirement ?
Very Low
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Common uses
Hedges, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Other Names
Common Names
Coastal Prickly Pear, Coastal Pricklypear, Western Prickly Pear

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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