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Opuntia erinacea - Engelm.&Bigelow.

Common Name Mojave Prickly Pear
Family Cactaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards The plant has 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 Gravelly rocky soil under dry conditions in creosote bush scrub, pinyon-juniper and joshua tree woodland, chaparral and yellow pine forest at elevations of 800 - 2800 metres[276].
Range South-western N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Half Hardy Well drained soil Full sun
Opuntia erinacea Mojave Prickly Pear


Opuntia erinacea Mojave Prickly Pear

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Opuntia erinacea is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 9 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from Jul to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects. Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought. The plant can tolerates strong winds but not maritime exposure.

Synonyms

Habitats

By East Wall;  By South Wall;  Cultivated Beds;  Walls.

Gravelly rocky soil under dry conditions in creosote bush scrub, pinyon-juniper and joshua tree woodland, chaparral and yellow pine forest at elevations of 800 - 2800 metres[276].

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit;  Leaves;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Gum.

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use[3, 257]. Sweet and gelatinous[85]. Lean and insipid[95]. The unripe fruits can be added to soups etc, imparting an okra-like mucilaginous quality[183]. The fruit can hang on the plant all year round[160]. Be careful of the plants irritant hairs, see the notes above on toxicity. Pads - cooked or raw[257].

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

Other Uses

Gum.

The following notes are for O. ficus indica. They almost certainly also apply to this species[K]. A gum is obtained from the stem. It is used as a masticatory or can be mixed with oil to make candles[64, 207]. The juice of the boiled stem segments is very sticky. It is added to plaster, whitewash etc to make it adhere better to walls[92].

Cultivation details

Requires a sandy or very well-drained soil[160]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7.5[200]. Plants must be kept fairly dry in the winter but they like a reasonable supply of water in the growing season[200]. A position at the base of a south-facing wall or somewhere that can be protected from winter rain is best for this plant. Requires warmth and plenty of sun. Plants tolerate considerable neglect. This species is fairly cold tolerant and can succeed outdoors in a selected site in the milder areas of the country[200]. The sub-species O. erinacea ursina is not hardy[200]. Closely related to O. polyacantha[200].

Propagation

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

Found In

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

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.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Opuntia compressaEastern Prickly Pear, Prickly Pear Cactus31
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

 

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Author

Engelm.&Bigelow.

Botanical References

200

Links / References

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Subject : Opuntia erinacea  
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