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Tulip Pricklypear
Opuntia phaeacantha
About Tulip Pricklypear (Opuntia phaeacantha) 4 Nurseries Carry This Plant Opuntia phaeacantha is a species of prickly pear cactus known by the common names tulip prickly pear and desert prickly pear. It is found across the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. It has a characteristic prickly pear appearance, with flattened green pads bearing wool and spines. The spines are brown, reddish-brown, or gray, and often over 3 centimeters in length. The flowers are usually bright yellow with reddish centers, and sometimes peach, pinkish or reddish overall. The edible fruits are red or purple with green flesh. The pads and fruit bear tiny glochids which can lodge in the skin and cause irritation. The plant forms dense but localized thickets. There are several varieties of this particular species, and it also hybridizes easily with other prickly pears, making identification sometimes tricky.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Plant Type

3.3 ft tall

Flower Color
Flower Color
Orange, Pink, Yellow, Red, Brown

Flowering Season
Flowering Season
Spring, Summer

Wildlife Supported

Butterflies & moths hosted ( 5 likely * ) SHOW ALL
Pseudoschinia elautalis Image
Pseudoschinia elautalisPseudoschinia elautalis
Dyotopasta yumaella Image
Dyotopasta yumaellaDyotopasta yumaella
Laetilia dilatifasciella Image
Laetilia dilatifasciellaLaetilia dilatifasciella
Dicymolomia opuntialis Image
Dicymolomia opuntialisDicymolomia opuntialis

Landscaping Information
Full Sun, Part Shade


Common uses
Common uses
Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens

Sunset Zones
Sunset Zones?
2, 7, 8, 9, 10*, 11, 12, 14*, 16, 18*, 19*, 20*, 21*, 22*, 23*, 24*

Natural Setting
Annual Precipitation: 2.8" - 43.9", Summer Precipitation: 0.20" - 3.80", Coldest Month: 33.7" - 58.3", Hottest Month: 61.1" - 89.1", Humidity: 0.81" - 39.79", Elevation: -227" - 8222"

Alternative Names
Common Names: Brownspine Pricklypear, Desert Prickly Pear, Nopal Pardo, Tulip 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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