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Opuntia microdasys – Bunny Ears Cactus

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Scientific Name

Opuntia microdasys (Lehm.) Pfeiff.

Common Names

Bunny Ears, Bunny Ears Cactus, Bunny Cactus, Polka Dot Cactus, Bunny-Ears Prickly-Pear, Angel’s Wings, Golden-Bristle, Golden-Bristle Cactus

Synonyms

Cactus microdasys, Opuntia macrocalyx, Opuntia microdasys var. microdasys

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Opuntieae
Genus: Opuntia

Description

Opuntia microdasys is an evergreen perennial forms a dense shrub up to 24 inches (60 cm) tall (occasionally more), composed of green, pad-like stems, up to 6 inches (15 cm) long and up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) broad. It has no spines, but instead has numerous yellow glochids (micro-spines) up to 0.12 inch (3 mm) long at each aureole. The flowers are up to 2 inches (5 cm) across and have broad, yellow tepals, yellow anthers, and dark green stigma lobes. The flowers are followed by round to egg-shaped, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, red to purplish, spineless but glochid-dotted fruits.

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Though the large variety of species within the Opuntia genus means different types of prickly pears may need slightly different care, all are desert cacti that need lots of sun, lots of light, and very little water. If you live in a hot, arid area – particularly the American Southwest – these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.

Prickly Pears can propagate either by cuttings or by seed. To propagate by cuttings, sever pads from a plant and let them dry so that the wounds heal. Then place the plants in a dry soil and refrain from watering them until they begin to grow to avoid rotting them. To propagate by seed, rinse away pulp from the seeds, make sure they’re thoroughly dry, and plant – ideally in the spring… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.

Origin

Native to central and northern Mexico.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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