Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus (Phil.) Backeb.
Paper Spine Cactus, Paper Spined Cholla
Tephrocactus papyracanthus, Opuntia papyracantha
Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus is a slow-growing bushy cactus with segmented stems with remarkable soft flat paper spines. It grows up to 12 inches (30 cm) tall. The little segments are pinecone-shaped, loosely attached, and fall easily. Flowers are bell-shaped, white with a yellow center, and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 8b to 10b: from 15 °F (−9.4 °C) to 40 °F (+4.4 °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, 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.
Tephrocactus articulatus var. papyracanthus is native to western Argentina (provinces of Catamarca, Cordoba, La Rioja, Mendoza, Salta, San Luis and Santiago del Estero).
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