General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Cactus/Succulent
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Full Sun to Partial Shade
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4b -31.7 °C (-25 °F) to -28.9 °C (-20 °F)
Plant Height: 6 to 12 inches
Plant Spread: 18 to 36 inches
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Other: 1.5 to 2 inch, juicy green fruits mature to red and purple. Each fruit contains numerous small seeds.
Fruiting Time: Late summer or early fall
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Yellow
Other: Often with red center.
Bloom Size: 2"-3"
Flower Time: Late spring or early summer
Summer
Suitable Locations: Xeriscapic
Uses: Provides winter interest
Will Naturalize
Edible Parts: Leaves
Seeds or Nuts
Fruit
Eating Methods: Raw
Cooked
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Deer Resistant
Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Needs specific temperature: 68-86 degrees
Sow in situ
Start indoors
Can handle transplanting
Other info: Seeds may be extremely slow to germinate
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Layering
Other: Individual pads form new plants; they must dry and callous for 10 days before planting
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil
With thorns/spines/prickles/teeth

Image
Common names
  • Eastern Prickly Pear
  • Devil's Tongue
  • Low Prickly Pear
  • Prickly Pear
  • Devil's-Tongue

Photo Gallery
Location: Front border, Fair Lawn NJ
Date: 2023-06-14
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2018-06-29
Uploaded by bwbillh
Location: Garden
Date: July 8, 2020
Location: Hortus Botanicus Utrecht
Date: 2017-07-16
Location: Hortus Botanicus Utrecht
Date: 2017-07-16
Location: Canby, OR
Date: 2017-08-09
#Pollination

Date: 2020-06-09
Location: US National Arboretum, Washington D.C.
Date: 2015-05-31
Devil's tongue (Opuntia humifusa). Called Eastern Prickly Pear or
Location: Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a
Date: 2009-06-28
blooms turn a lovely peach the second day, pink the third day.
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: 2021-05-27

Date: 2022-11-01
Location: Plano, TX
Date: 2013-05-08
Location: US National Arboretum, Washington D.C.
Date: 2015-05-31
Devil's tongue (Opuntia humifusa). Called Eastern Prickly Pear or
Location: Southern Pines, NC (Reservoir Park)
Date: June 23, 2022
Prickly pear cactus #151; RAB page 735, 132-1-1; LHB page 704, 13
Location: Latvia University Botanical  gardens Riga
Date: 2018-09-11
Growing outside inthis northern regia (Latvia)

Date: 2022-11-01
Feels like it has always been there, blends in perfectly with the
Location: Ontario, Canada
Date: July 3, 2020
Location: Botanical Garden of Copenhagen
Date: 2016-10-13
Location: Hiking Trail In Fairfax :-)
Location: Conrad Savanna Nature Preserve, Newton County, Indiana
Date: 07/02/2009
photo by Justin Meissen via Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos
Location: Hiking Trail In Fairfax :-)
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-06-10
a planted patch
Uploaded by sedumzz
Location: Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a
Date: 2008-06-18
spines
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2014-06-27
Location: Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a
Date: 2009-06-28
new bloom
Location: Plano, TX
Date: 2013-04-30
Volunteer seedlings

Date: 2022-11-01
A feral plant growing on a hillside near a vineyard...
Location: All pictures taken in/on my gardens/greenhouse/property
Date: 2018-07-02
Location: Botanical Garden of Copenhagen
Date: 2014-07-23
Location: Botanical Garden of Copenhagen

Date: 2020-04-18
Fruit, 1 year old.
Location: Atlanta BG
Date: Aug 16
Location: Canby, OR
Date: 2017-08-09
Location: East Tennessee
Date: 2014-05-31

Date: 2013-06-25
Feral plant

Date: 2018-05-25
Location: Winter Springs, Florida, United States
Date: 2019-12-29
Location: US National Arboretum, Washington D.C.
Date: 2015-05-31
Devil's tongue (Opuntia humifusa). Called Eastern Prickly Pear or
Location: US National Arboretum, Washington D.C.
Date: 2015-05-31
Devil's tongue (Opuntia humifusa). Called Eastern Prickly Pear or
Location: Botanical Garden Utrecht
Location: Loki Schmidt Garten - Botanischer Garten der Universität Hamburg
Date: 2022-09-13
Location: Smith College Botanical Garden
Date: 2011-09-17
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: May 15,  2022
Prickly pear cactus #151; RAB page 735, 132-1-1; LHB page 704, 13
Location: New York City Area
Date: June
Whole eastern prickly pear in bloom
Location: New York City Area
Date: June
Whole eastern prickly pear in bloom
Location: My garden in N E Pa. 
Date: 2015-06-19
Location: Allentown, Pennsylvania
Date: 2015-06-19
Location: Botanical Garden of Copenhagen
Date: 2014-07-23

Date: 2020-04-18
Fruit open. Seeds covered in flesh. Semi hollow.
Location: Botanical Garden of Copenhagen
Date: 2016-10-13
Location: NYBG 
Date: 2022-06-14
Location: Cactus Ledge on the Vista Loop Trail in Ramapo Valley County Reservation, Mahwah, NJ
Date: 2024-03-29
The cacti are just resuming growth after winter. They are growing
Location: Winter Springs, Florida, United States
Date: 2019-12-28
Location: Winter Springs, Florida, United States
Date: 2019-12-29
Location: Kill Devil Hills, NC | June, 2022
Date: 2022-06-11
Location: Kill Devil Hills, NC | June, 2022
Date: 2022-06-11
Location: Aberdeen, NC
Date: May 15, 2022
Prickly pear cactus #151; RAB page 735, 132-1-1; LHB page 704, 13
Location: Plano, TX
Ripe fruits
Location: Canoga Park, California
Date: 2012-05-06
Location: Winter Springs, Florida, United States
Date: 2019-12-28

Photo courtesy of Nate Bremer of Solaris Farms
  • Uploaded by Joy
Location: Jenkins Arboretum in Berwyn, Pennsylvania
Date: 2012-06-10
close-up of flowers and foliage
Location: Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
Date: 2009-09-17
wild clump above beach
Location: Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a
Date: 2008-06-16
bloom - day 2
Location: Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a
Date: 2008-06-15
side shot
Location: Ontario, Canada, Zone 5a
Date: 2008-06-15
Location: Botanical Garden Utrecht
Location: Aberdeen, NC Pages Lake park
Date: May 5, 2022
Prickly pear cactus #151. RAB page 735, 132-1-1. LHB page 704, 13
Location: Plano, TX
Date: 2013-04-24

Date: 2012-04-15
looking mushy after a long cold winter. They'll perk right up whe
Location: Sarasota, FL
Date: 2015-04-30
At Selby Gardens
Comments:
  • Posted by jmorth (central Illinois) on Nov 27, 2011 11:12 AM concerning plant:
    Habitats favored in the Midwest are dry, sandy soil, on exposed cliffs and sandstone glades.
    Often found in colonies.
    American Indians ate the ripe fruit, pads, buds, and flowers raw, cooked, or dried.
  • Posted by threegardeners (Brockville, Ontario, Canada - Zone 5a) on Oct 25, 2011 3:47 PM concerning plant:
    This is the only native cactus of Ontario, Canada. Endangered.
    Every winter the entire plant turns to mush. When Spring arrives and the ground starts warming up, after a few rains, the plant starts to "fill out" again...eventually turning into it's full version.
    Very prickly. Not a large plant. I've had this plant for 6 years and it barely fills half of a half whiskey barrel planter.
    Blooms every year. Blooms begin a beautiful lemon yellow fading to peach the second day and pink the third and final day.
    I've never gotten fruit from the blooms.
    Needs no special treatment.
  • Posted by SongofJoy (Clarksville, TN - Zone 6b) on Oct 26, 2011 2:56 PM concerning plant:
    Opuntia humifusa, the hardy Prickly Pear, is native to the United States east of the Rocky Mountains. It is easy to grow, rooting readily from pads stuck in the ground or just lying on top of the soil.

    Opuntias are very popular as a food in many parts of the world. The pads, called nopales, are a popular vegetable in Mexico and Central America. They are usually cooked but can be eaten raw, tasting a little like green beans.

    The spines of this plant are sharp enough but be especially careful of the glochids, those tiny hairlike bristles that occur in little tufts on the pads. They are barbed and treacherous and difficult to remove!
Plant Events from our members
WebTucker On June 23, 2022 Bloomed
WebTucker On May 6, 2022 Obtained plant
» Post your own event for this plant

Discussion Threads about this plant
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
So cool by gardengus Jul 8, 2015 11:30 AM 3

« Add a new plant to the database

» Search the Prickly Pears Database: by characteristics or by cultivar name

« See the general plant entry for Prickly Pears (Opuntia)

« The Prickly Pears Database Front Page

« The Plants Database Front Page

Today's site banner is by Lestv and is called "Coral Sunset"

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.