Opuntia macrorhiza Opuntia compressa Twist-spine Prickly Pear Cactus Seeds and Plants
 op-UN-shee-uh   mak-roh-RY-zuh

Easyliving Native Perennial Wildflowers Seeds and Potted Plants
Native Wild Flower Plants and Seed for Home Landscaping and Prairie Restoration john@easywildflowers.com

Opuntia humifusa Prickly Pear Cactus picture Habitat Bloom Period Color Height Inches Moisture Plant Spacing Lifespan
Opuntia humifusa oicture, prickly pear cactus picture Sun to lt. shade May June lemon yellow 5" long pads in clusters up to 12" high dry to average
well drained soil
6 to 18 inches Perennial
Opuntia humifusa Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia macrorhiza Hardy Prickly Pear Cactus potted plants are available $5.00 each plus Boxing/Shipping. 
Please contact us by email with your zip code and number of plants for shipping charges on  potted plants

For our other native wildflowers visit Wildflower Seed/Plant Price List

 to order prickly Pear Cactus seeds and Potted plants copy and mail the order form
 email questions, comments, and orders to

Opuntia macrorhiza seed
Prickly Pear Cactus seed

number of seeds

approximate coverage
in square feet

1 packet -  sold out of seeds

40 20

1 ounce -   ----------

950 -- 1000 400

1 pound   ----------

Opuntia humifusa Prickly Pear potted plants are $5 each plus Boxing/Shipping

Seed shipping chart at bottom of  page

Opuntia = referring to an ancient Greek city, Opus
macrorhiza = Big root

Opuntia humifusa is also know as Opuntia compressa or Opuntia humifusa
Common names include – Common Prickly-pear, Plains Prickly Pear, Devil’s Tongue, Twist-spine Prickly-pear, Twistspine Pricklypear, Bigroot Pricklypear

    Opuntia macrorhiza, Twistspine Pricklypear Cactus  is a low growing, spreading succulent cactus with enlarged fleshy, spiny, green pads and lemon yellow flowers.  The showy yellow flowers are 3 to 4 inches across and bloom in May and June.  Flowers are very showy but plants only bloom for a few days.  Prickly Pear Cactus is found growing wild in colonies on glades of limestone, sandstone, and igneous rock and sandy fields and pastures throughout the Ozarks and most of the Midwest and eastern USA.  Opuntia macrorhiza was considered to be a variety of Opuntia humifusa but is now listed as a separate species.   Prickly Pear Cactus is also known as Opuntia compressa.  The common name Prickly Pear refers to the red, bristly, pearlike fruit.  Native Americans ate the fruit, pads, buds, and flowers raw, cooked, or dried.  Prickly Pear Cactus plants are grown in the wild flower rock garden as a focal point or can be grown inside as a potted plant.   

     Prickly pear cactus plants, when growing wild, often lay flat or near the ground. Under optimal garden conditions prickly pear will grow one to two feet tall and produce larger pads.  They thrive in rock gardens or containers and can be effective in a mixed planting, borders and natural areas. Hardy prickly pear is low-growing and its brilliant yellow flowers and meandering pads are a welcome addition to the sunny flower garden.

    Prickly Pear (Opuntia macrorhiza) is a hardy cactus native to the United States east of the Rockies and grows wild in dry, sandy soils in open pine woods, prairies, pastures, and dry rocky glades. Native Opuntia humifusa prickly pear cactus is a prostrate or spreading cactus with oblong, flattened pads 2 to 8 inches (5.1-15.2 cm) long with sharp spines. (Some individuals don't have spines.)  Prickly pear spines are easy enough to avoid, but watch out for the tiny hairlike bristles (glochids) that occur in little tufts over the pad. They are barbed and treacherous!  Prickly Pear Cactus has showy bright yellow 3 to 4 inch wide flowers that appear in mid summer.  The edible reddish green fruits are called tunas and are 2-3 in long. The pulp is ruby red and tastes a little like watermelon.
There are over 200 species of prickly pear cactuses in southwestern North America, Mexico, Central America and South America.

    Prickly pear prefers full sun but will grow in light shade and is easy to grow, rooting readily from pads stuck in the ground, or even just lying on the surface.  It is drought tolerant but doesn't like soggy conditions.

    There is a large commercial production of Prickly Pear fruits (tunas) in other countries where the the sweet juicy fruits are very popular. World wide the production of prickly pear tunas is larger than that of strawberries, avocados, or apricots.  The pads (nopales) are a popular cooked vegetable in Mexico and Central America with a taste some think is like green beans.

The map below shows areas where Opuntia macrorhiza, Twistspine Prickly pear Cactus plants grow wild but they can be planted and will grow over most of the US.  USDA plant hardiness zones 3 to 9.

Opuntia macrorhiza, Twistspine PricklyPear Cactus


  For our other native wildflowers visit wildflower seed and potted plant price list

 to order Opuntia macrorhiza, Twistspine Prickly pear Cactus seeds copy and mail the order form
email questions, comments, and orders to john@easywildflowers.com

Use the chart below for shipping charges on our native wildflower seeds
macrorhiza, Twistspine Prickly pear Cactus seeds

email with your zip code and number of plants for shipping charges and availability on potted plants

We accept payment by check, money order, and through Paypal

The minimum seed order amount is $10, this can be a combination of different seeds.
Please email for availability of seeds

subtotal for flower seeds 

shipping charge for seeds

seed orders up to  $20.00    =  

 $4.00 shipping

$20.01 - $50.00    =  

 $6.00 shipping

$50.01-$100.00    =  

 $7.50 shipping

over $100.00    =    7.5 % of subtotal


  Flower Pictures    Wildflower Seed and Potted Plant Price list   Order Form   

Easyliving Wildflowers
PO Box  522
Willow Springs,  MO.  65793
Phone 417-469-2611 

We accept payment by check or money order and through PayPal

e-mail questions, comments, and orders to  john@easywildflowers.com

Native Opuntia macrorhiza, Twistspine Prickly pear Cactus plant distribution map complements of USDA, NRCS. 2001. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.1
  (http://plants.usda.gov). National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.















Easily grown in dry, sandy or gravelly, well-drained soils in full sun. May be grown in clay soils as long as drainage is good and soils do not remain wet. Tuberous roots. Plants often spread in the wild to form colonies as pads break off and root nearby. Similarly, plants are easily propagated by cuttings: previous year's pads may be severed at the joint during the growing season, dried for a week and then planted directly in the garden (joint wound down) or in a potting medium. May also be grown from seed with moderate difficulty.

Noteworthy Characteristics:

This species of prickly pear cactus is a clump-forming, semi-prostrate, Missouri native cactus which typically grows 6-14" tall. It occurs over a large geographic range, from Idaho to Wisconsin south to Louisiana and Arizona, but is rare in Missouri where it occurs in certain rocky glades and ledges and rocky open ground in only three counties in the State. It features jointed, round-to-oval, flattened, succulent green pads (4-6" long) which are not leaves but swollen water-storing stem segments. Each pad typically has scattered needle-like spines (1-6 per areole) which are deflexed (turn downward). However, pads are covered with numerous tufts of bristles (glochids) which easily pierce human skin and can cause significant allergic skin reactions. Showy, 2-3" diameter, bright yellow flowers, sometimes with a reddish eye, have 8-12 yellow rays and a bushy clump of yellow center stamens. Flowers bloom in June-July. Pulpy, red fruits (to 2") ripen in late summer to fall and are edible, most often being used to make candies and jams. Native Americans not only ate the fruits (fresh, cooked or dried for winter), but also roasted the pads as a vegetable and used the sap for certain medicinal applications. In autumn, the pads become quite shriveled and begin to lie down as the plants withdraw water in preparation for winter. Though technically evergreen, the plants become quite scraggly in appearance during winter. However, the pads green up quickly in spring. Several descriptive regional common names have been given to this plant, including tuberous-rooted prickly pear, twistspine prickly pear and plains prickly pear. It is similar in appearance to the more common Missouri native prickly pear, Opuntia compressa (syn. Opuntia humifusa), and was once considered to be a variety of this species. Opuntia macrorhiza differs from O. compressa in three main ways: (1) it has thicker tuberous roots as opposed to the fibrous roots of O. compresa, and (2) it tends to have more than one stout spine (up to 6) per areole, and (3) stout spines are deflexed (turn downward).