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Opuntia humifusa

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

General Landscape Uses: Accent shrub.

Availability: Native plant nurseries.

Description: Medium or small succulent shub armed with gray spines.

Dimensions: Typically 2-4 feet in height. Usually about as broad and tall.

Growth Rate: Moderate.

Range: Eastern United States west to Montana and New Mexico and south to the Monroe County Keys. In the Monroe County Keys, disjunct from Miami-Dade County to the pine rocklands of Big Pine Key, where very rare or extirpated.

Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

Habitats: Pinelands and open coastal uplands.

Soils: Moist to dry, well-drained sandy or limestone soils, without humus.

Nutritional Requirements: Low; it grows in nutrient poor soils.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Frontline; grows in direct salt wind but away from constant salt spray.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun.

Flower Color: Yellow.

Flower Characteristics: Showy.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Red to purplish berry. Edible. Highly ornamental.

Wildlife and Ecology: Attracts insect pollinators. Nectar plant for dotted skipper (Hesperia attalus) butterflies.

Horticultural Notes: Can be grown from cuttings and seed. For cuttings, break off mature pad at joint. Let dry for a few days. Set cut end in potting soil several inches deep. Water every 2-3 days. Roots will form soon and initial growth will be rapid. Good drainage is essential.

Comments: A species with significant morphological variation. Local sources are best used.

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Blazingstar Preserve, Palm Beach County, Florida

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Robert L. Line

Other data on Opuntia humifusa available from:

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