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Plant Details

Opuntia drummondii [=Opuntia pusilla]

Dune Prickly-pear, Sand-bur Prickly-pear, Little Prickly-pear, Creeping Cactus, Cockspur Prickly-pear

Scientific Name:

Opuntia drummondii [=Opuntia pusilla]

Genus:

Opuntia

Species Epithet:

drummondii

Common Name:

Dune Prickly-pear, Sand-bur Prickly-pear, Little Prickly-pear, Creeping Cactus, Cockspur Prickly-pear

Plant Type

Shrub

Life Cycle

Perennial

Plant Family

Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Native/Alien:

NC Native

Invasive Status:

(*Key)

Size:

0-1 ft.

Bloom Color(s):

Yellow

Light:

Sun - 6 or more hours of sun per day

Soil Moisture:

Dry

Bloom Time:

April, May, June

Growing Area:

Coastal Plain

Habitat Description:

Dunes on barrier islands, less commonly on river-associated sands and on granite outcrops. In coastal dunes and sand flats, it can be locally common in NC, but overall along the coast best called infrequent to fairly common.

Leaf Arrangement:

No apparent leaves

Leaf Retention:

Evergreen

Leaf Type:

Leaves needle-like or scale-like

Leaf Form:

No Apparent Leaves

Life Cycle:

Perennial

Wildlife Value:

Important for Wildlife

Landscape Value:

Not Recommended for home landscapes

State Rank:

S3: Vulnerable (*Key)

Global Rank:

G4 - Apparently Secure (*Key)

Notes:

It is heavily armed with strong 1” long spines. The fleshy “pads” are only about 1” long on average, but they easily break off when someone steps on them and get the spines stuck in their shoe or (worse) in their foot. It can inflict painful wounds, the spines not easily removed from flesh or clothing because of the retrorse barbs. O. drummondii is easily separated from other species in the eastern US by the production of very small cladodes with strongly retrorsely barbed spines; the cladodes easily disarticulate at the nodes and are often dispersed vegetatively forming clones of the parent plants.

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Links:

USDA PLANTS Database Record



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