Cochineal Cactus (Nopalea cochenillifera)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Cochineal Cactus
Give a thumbs up Prickly Pear
Give a thumbs up Scurge Needle
Give a thumbs up Cochineal Nopal Cactus

Botanical names:
Nopalea cochenillifera Accepted
Opuntia nuda Synonym
Opuntia cochenillifera Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Plant Height: Up to 20 feet
Plant Spread: Up to 15 feet
Leaves: Other: Green leaves present only on emerging growth, they may or may not be replaced with spines (modified leaves) on mature growth.
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Pink
Other: Blooms are usually magenta, but also tend to be reddish/purple/deep pink.
Bloom Size: 3"-4"
Flower Time: Late winter or early spring
Late spring or early summer
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Windbreak or Hedge
Dye production
Provides winter interest
Erosion control
Flowering Tree
Cooked greens
Will Naturalize
Suitable for forage
Edible Parts: Fruit
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Tolerates dry shade
Humidity tolerant
Drought tolerant
Salt tolerant
Toxicity: Other: thorns are sharp, glochids can become embedded in skin and cause pain
Propagation: Seeds: Sow in situ
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Other: pads which remain on the plant may fall over, and when touching the ground, will root from the spines
Containers: Suitable in 3 gallon or larger
Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth


Photo gallery:
Location: Animal Kingdom, Orlando, FL
By dave
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Location: Miami, FLDate: 2014-JanNopales buds and bloom
By skylark
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Location: Miami, FLDate: 2014-Janon a street sidewalk
By skylark
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Date: 2006-10-12Credit USDA
By admin
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Date: 2006-10-12Credit USDA
By admin
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By ljones26
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This plant is tagged in:
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Posted by skylark (JC NJ/So FL - Zone 7b) on Aug 21, 2014 4:35 PM

Found a great link about this plant, which I saw growing 10' tall on the streets of Miami, Fl.
I of course have tasted nopales paddles - it's a staple in Mexican cuisine, but this was the first time I saw the plant itself.

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Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Help ID spineless variegated prickly pear! by critterologist May 27, 2018 8:37 AM 8
ID DD's Succulent please by ShadyGreenThumb Aug 13, 2017 8:59 PM 11
Part Cactus Part Tree by vic May 16, 2015 2:42 AM 7
Prickly pear by dave Nov 26, 2014 11:39 AM 4

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