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Opuntia dillenii - (Ker-Gawl.) Haw

Common Name Dillen prickly pear,
Family Cactaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards Species in this genus generally have numerous minutely barbed glochids (hairs) that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort[200].
Habitats A weed of semi-arid, sub-tropical, tropical and warmer temperate regions. It may inhabit open woodlands, rangelands, grasslands, pastures, creekbanks, roadsides, railways lines, coastal environs, gardens, disturbed sites and waste areas.
Range Origin: Mesoamerica. Native to south-eastern USA (i.e. Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas), Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and parts of northern South America (i.e. Ecuador).
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (0 of 5)
Tender Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Opuntia dillenii Dillen prickly pear,
Opuntia dillenii Dillen prickly pear,


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Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Opuntia dillenii is an evergreen Perennial growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils, prefers well-drained soil and can grow in nutritionally poor soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Cactus chinensis Roxb. Cactus dillenii Ker Gawl. Cactus indicus Roxb. Opuntia melanosperma Svenson. Opuntia stricta var. dillenii (Ker Gawl.) L.D.Benson


Edible Uses

Edible Portion: Fruit, Flowers, Pads. Fruits are insipid but very juicy, and are eaten raw or made into syrup, jam or jelly. The fruit are peeled then eaten fresh, preserved or made into wine. Young joints are cut into pieces and boiled, or dried in the sun for future use [183].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

None Known

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Other Uses

Carbon Farming Solutions - Agroforestry Services: living fence (Agroforestry is a land use management system in which trees or shrubs are grown around or among crops or pastureland). Intercropped with other forage species like Mesquite (Prosopis SPP). Fodder: bank, insect.

Cultivation details

Agroforestry Services: Living fence  Fodder: Bank  Fodder: Insect  Regional Crop

Climate: tropical. Humidity: semi-arid. A succulent shrub, growing under desert and dry conditions. It grows in sandy, waste places. It needs full sun. It needs a temperature above 13°C. Plants are grown by chopping them into small pieces and drying before planting. Opuntia dillenii plants are relatively sensitive to frost. At an annual mean temperature of 20°C to 30°C they need at least 150 to 250 mm precipitation per annum, but accept also lower temperatures (on average 10°C to 20°C) combined with much rain (about 1000 mm per annum). Carbon Farming Solutions - Cultivation: regional crop (Describes the non-destructive management systems that are used in cultivation) [1-1].

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Seed - sow early spring in a very well-drained compost in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from winter wet. Make sure you have some reserve plants in case those outdoors do not overwinter. Cuttings of leaf pads at any time in the growing season. Remove a pad from the plant and then leave it in a dry sunny place for a couple of days to ensure that the base is thoroughly dry and has begun to callous. Pot up into a sandy compost. Very easy, rooting quickly.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Chapal, Chhittarthohar, Chorhatalo, Dildo, Eltham indian fig, Hathhathoria, Kalazaung-letwa, Kalazaw, Kyasha, Nagadari, Nagajemudu, Nagathali, Nagophenia, Nagphana, Ni ci ba ga, Pak'an, Palakakkalli, Papaskalli, Prickly Pear, Sappathikalli, Shazaung-letwa, Slipper thorn, Sweet prickly pear, Vot gai. Australian pest pear, common prickly pear, Dillen's prickly pear, Eltham Indian fig, erect prickly pear, Gayndah pear, pipestem prickly pear, prickly pear, sour prickly pear, spiny pest pear, spiny pest-pear, sweet prickly pear, sweet prickly-pear.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Asia, Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Caribbean, Central America, China, Cuba, Dominican Republic, East Africa, Ecuador, Haiti, India, Indochina, Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Madagascar, Malawi, Mexico, Myanmar, North America, Puerto Rico, SE Asia, South America, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tanzania, USA, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, West Indies

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Constitutes a serious threat to native species, habitats or ecosystems in dry and warm climates around the world. It is involved in dangerous infestations with several Opuntia species, notably Opuntia stricta (pest pear) in eastern Australia.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Cylindropuntia spp.Cholla30
Opuntia compressaEastern Prickly Pear, Prickly Pear Cactus31
Opuntia erinaceaMojave Prickly Pear20
Opuntia ficus-indicaPrickly Pear, Barbary fig32
Opuntia fragilisPrickly Pear, Brittle pricklypear21
Opuntia howeyi 20
Opuntia imbricataTree Chola20
Opuntia littoralisWestern Prickly Pear20
Opuntia macrorhizaTwist-Spine Prickly Pear20
Opuntia microdasysBunny Ears, Angel's-wings20
Opuntia phaeacanthaBastard Fig, Tulip pricklypear21
Opuntia polyacanthaPlains Prickly Pear, El Paso pricklypear, Grizzlybear pricklypear, Navajo Bridge pricklypear, Hairsp31
Opuntia ramosissimaBranched Pencil Cholla30
Opuntia tomentosaVelvet prickly pear, Woollyjoint Pricklypear30


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(Ker-Gawl.) Haw

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Subject : Opuntia dillenii  
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