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Maihueniopsis darwinii (Darwin's Cactus)


Scientific Name

Maihueniopsis darwinii (Hensl.) F.Ritter

Common Names

Darwin's Cactus


Maihueniopsis darwinii var. darwinii, Opuntia darwinii (basionym), Tephrocactus darwinii

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Tephrocacteae
Genus: Maihueniopsis


Maihueniopsis darwinii is a mat-forming cactus up to 4 inches (10 cm) tall. The stems are olive-green, ovoidal and up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) in diameter. The spines are 4 to 6, very sharp and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) long. The flowers are solitary, dirty yellow-orange, up to 2.4 inches (6 cm) in diameter and appear from late spring to early summer.

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USDA hardiness zones 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °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, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.

These cacti will grow just fine in a garden, but 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 cactus 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.

Opuntia 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 dry soil and refrain from watering them until they begin to grow to avoid rotting them… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Opuntia


Maihueniopsis darwinii is native to Argentina and Chile.


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