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Austrocylindropuntia vestita (Old Man Opuntia)


Scientific Name

Austrocylindropuntia vestita (Salm-Dyck) Backeb

Common Names

Old Man Opuntia, Cotton Pole, Cotton Pole Cactus, Cotton Coral, Cotton Coral Cactus


Austrocylindropuntia chuquisacana, Cylindropuntia vestita, Opuntia chuquisacana, Opuntia vestita, Pseudotephrocactus vestitus, Trichopuntia vestita, Cylindropuntia teres

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Austrocylindropuntieae
Genus: Austrocylindropuntia


Austrocylindropuntia vestita is a slender columnar cactus, up to 25 inches (60 cm) tall. The stem is cylindrical, up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter, covered densely with long white hairs, branched basally and near the top. It has thin leaves and few white, thin, up to 0.4 inch (1 cm) long spines. The flowers are develop at the top of the stem, deep red or violet in color and up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter.

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USDA hardiness zone 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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.

Though Opuntia will grow just fine in a garden, they can be grown in pots as well. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, then remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the prickly pear in a new pot and backfill it with potting soil. As with a new cutting, make sure not to water a newly repotting prickly pear for a brief period to avoid rotting its roots… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Opuntia


Native to Bolivia and northern Argentina.


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