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Wildflowers of Texas, Plant Resources Center, University of Texas at Austin

Texas Prickly Pear   Opuntia engelmannii  var.  lindheimeri
Cactus family — Cactaceae

Also known as:
Nopal Prickly Pear, Engelmann Prickly Pear

Slides: (click for larger view)


Prickly pears are among the best known and most characteristic plants of Texas, due to their strange form, their abundance in the drier parts of the state, their spines and troublesome "glochids" (tiny barbed spines that stick in one's skin), their beautiful flowers, their multiple uses. The fruit flesh ("prickly pear" or "tuna") is delicious, and the pads--when stripped of their spines and glochids--are cooked as "nopalitos". Prickly pears can be a nuisance when they take over overgrazed rangeland, as they often do, but in droughts they are emergency food for cattle. The widespread species shown here is the most common prickly pear of central and South Texas; in most of that area it has yellow flowers, but other colors, such as this orange, are common in South Texas.

Dried Specimens: (click for larger view)


Flowering Months: March, April, May, June, July

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