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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

Opuntia microdasys var. microdasys, Cactus microdasys, Opuntia macrocalyx

Scientific Classification

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

Description

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

Photo via crmbsgrdn.blogspot.com

Hardiness

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

How to Grow and Care

A spot near a south-facing, unobstructed window is most likely to meet Bunny Ears Cactus' need for bright, direct sun. Windows with western or eastern exposure run as second and third choices. While an actively growing Bunny Ears Cactus tolerates indoor summer temperatures as high as 100 °F (38 °C), don't expect it to flower unless you also provide winter temperatures between 45 and 55 °F (7 and 13 °C). Regardless of the season, it likes humidity in the 10 to 30 percent range. Finally, if none of your windows provides adequate light, place the plant 6 to 12 inches (15 to 30 cm) below a cool white fluorescent tube for 14 to 16 hours each day.

The potting soil must drain quickly. Use a commercial cactus potting mix or mix your own. The best container for your cactus is a clay pot just slightly larger and deeper than the plant's root system. It must have drainage holes because a pot without them or a pot that's too large, could make proper watering impossible.

Learn more at How to Grow and Care for a Bunny Ears Cactus (Opuntia microdasys).

Origin

Opuntia microdasys is native to central and northern Mexico.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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