Opuntia littoralis (Engelm.) Cockerell

Coast Prickly-Pear
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)


Coast prickly-pear is a spreading to sprawling perennial without a trunklike base that grows to 3' tall in clumps of up to 9' in diameter.  The flat pads are narrowly obovate sometimes twice as long as wide with 4-11 spines per aureole.  The spines are not barbed, are generally straight, yellowish to white, brown at the base, and nearly round in cross-section.  The flowers have pale yellow, overlapping, waxy petals and many stamens, and the edible pear-shaped fruits are dark red to purplish and bristly. Coast prickly-pear may be found at low elevations near the coast from Santa Barbara to Baja, and occasionally as much as 15-40 miles inland, blooming in May and June.

Click here for Latin name derivations: 1) Opuntia 2) littoralis.
Pronunciation: oh-PUN-tee-a lit-or-AY-lis.
Click here for Botanical Term Meanings.



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