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Consolea rubescens (Road Kill Cactus)

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Scientific Name

Consolea rubescens (Salm-Dyck ex DC.) Lem.

Common Names

Road Kill Cactus

Synonyms

Opuntia rubescens (basionym), Cactus rubescens, Consolea catacantha, Consolea guanicana, Consolea moniliformis subsp. rubescens, Opuntia guanicana

Scientific Classification

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

Description

Consolea rubescens is a nearly spineless cactus that eventually becomes a tree up to 20 foot (6 m) tall tree, with a trunk up to 6 inches (15 cm) thick. Its flattened bumpy paddles give it the name "Road Kill Cactus" for obvious reasons. It even looks like it has tire tracks across it. The smallish flowers are orange and appear in spring.

Photo via garden.org

Hardiness

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

Origin

Consolea rubescens is native to Florida and the Caribbean.

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