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Revision as of 15:22, 4 June 2012


Edible uses



Material uses

Unknown part


Medicinal uses(Warning!)

There are no medicinal uses listed for Opuntia macrorhiza.


Ecosystem niche/layer

Ecological Functions

Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Nothing listed.


Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Opuntia macrorhiza. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Practical Plants is currently lacking information on cultivation. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.


Problems, pests & diseases

Associations & Interactions

There are no interactions listed for Opuntia macrorhiza. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.

Polycultures & Guilds

There are no polycultures listed which include Opuntia macrorhiza.




None listed.


None listed.

Full Data

This table shows all the data stored for this plant.

Binomial name
Opuntia macrorhiza
Imported References
Edible uses
Medicinal uses
Material uses & Functions
Edible uses
None listed.
Material uses
None listed.
Medicinal uses
None listed.
Functions & Nature
Provides forage for
Provides shelter for
Hardiness Zone
Heat Zone
full sun
no shade
Soil PH
Soil Texture
Soil Water Retention
Environmental Tolerances
  • Drought
Native Climate Zones
None listed.
Adapted Climate Zones
None listed.
Native Geographical Range
None listed.
Native Environment
None listed.
Ecosystem Niche
None listed.
Root Zone Tendancy
None listed.
Deciduous or Evergreen
Herbaceous or Woody
Life Cycle
Growth Rate
Mature Size
Flower Colour
Flower Type



Requires a sandy or very well-drained soil[5]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7.5[6]. Plants must be kept fairly dry in the winter but they like a reasonable supply of water in the growing season[6]. A position at the base of a south-facing wall or somewhere that can be protected from winter rain is best for this plant. Requires warmth and plenty of sun. Plants tolerate considerable neglect. A fairly cold tolerant plant, it can succeed outdoors in a selected site in the milder areas of the country[6]. This species is closely related to O. compressa[11].


Seed - sow early spring in a very well-drained compost in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from winter wet. Make sure you have some reserve plants in case those outdoors do not overwinter. Cuttings of leaf pads at any time in the growing season. Remove a pad from the plant and then leave it in a dry sunny place for a couple of days to ensure that the base is thoroughly dry and has begun to callous. Pot up into a sandy compost. Very easy, rooting quickly.


South-western N. America - Texas to Missouri and Kansas.


Sandy, gravelly or rocky soil in grasslands[10]. Plants can sometimes persist for years under invading trees[10].

Known hazards

The plant has numerous minutely barbed glochids (hairs) that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort[6].

Edible uses

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use[1]. Sweet and gelatinous[2]. Lean and insipid[3]. The unripe fruits can be added to soups etc, imparting an okra-like mucilaginous quality[4]. The fruit can hang on the plant all year round[5]. Be careful of the plants irritant hairs, see notes above. The fruits of O. macrorhiza are about 4cm in diameter and usually free of spines[6].

The following notes are for O. compressa. They almost certainly also apply to this species[K].

Pads - cooked or raw[7][5]. Watery and very mucilaginous[2]. Seed - briefly roasted then ground into a powder[7]. It is also used as a thickener[7].

Material uses

The following notes are for O. ficus indica. They almost certainly also apply to this species[K].

A gum is obtained from the stem. It is used as a masticatory or mixed with oil to make candles[8]. The juice of the boiled stem segments is very sticky. It is added to plaster, whitewash etc to make it adhere better to walls[9].

Medicinal uses

None known


  1. ? 1.01.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
  2. ? Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
  3. ? 3.03.1 Saunders. C. F. Edible and Useful Wild Plants of the United States and Canada. Dover Publications ISBN 0-486-23310-3 (1976-00-00)
  4. ? 4.04.1 Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants. Kampong Publications ISBN 0-9628087-0-9 (1990-00-00)
  5. ? Natural Food Institute, Wonder Crops. 1987. ()
  6. ? Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
  7. ? Elias. T. and Dykeman. P. A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants. Van Nostrand Reinhold ISBN 0442222009 (1982-00-00)
  8. ? 8.08.1 Howes. F. N. Vegetable Gums and Resins. Faber ()
  9. ? 9.09.1 Balls. E. K. Early Uses of Californian Plants. University of California Press ISBN 0-520-00072-2 (1975-00-00)
  10. ? McGregor. R. L. & Barkley. T. M. Flora of the Great Plains. University Press of Kansas. ISBN 070060295x (1986-00-00)
  11. ? Britton. N. L. Brown. A. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada Dover Publications. New York. ISBN 0-486-22642-5 (1970-00-00)
Facts about "Opuntia macrorhiza"RDF feed
Article is incompleteYes +
Belongs to familyCactaceae +
Belongs to genusOpuntia +
Displays PFAF notesYes +
Has binomial nameOpuntia macrorhiza +
Has common nameTwist-Spine Prickly Pear +
Has drought toleranceTolerant +
Has edible partFruit +, Leaves + and Seed +
Has edible useUnknown use +
Has environmental toleranceDrought +
Has fertility typeInsects +
Has flowers of typeHermaphrodite +
Has hardiness zone9 +
Has lifecycle typePerennial +
Has material partUnknown part +
Has material useGum +
Has mature height0.12 +
Has mature width0.8 +
Has search nameopuntia macrorhiza + and twist-spine prickly pear +
Has shade toleranceNo shade +
Has soil ph preferenceAcid +, Neutral + and Alkaline +
Has soil texture preferenceSandy + and Loamy +
Has soil water retention preferenceWell drained +
Has sun preferenceFull sun +
Has taxonomic rankSpecies +
Has taxonomy nameOpuntia macrorhiza +
Has water requirementslow +
Is deciduous or evergreenDeciduous +
Is taxonomy typeSpecies +
PFAF cultivation notes migratedYes +
PFAF edible use notes migratedYes +
PFAF material use notes migratedYes +
PFAF medicinal use notes migratedYes +
PFAF propagation notes migratedYes +
PFAF toxicity notes migratedYes +
Tolerates nutritionally poor soilNo +
Uses mature size measurement unitMeters +
Has subobjectThis property is a special property in this wiki.Opuntia macrorhiza +, Opuntia macrorhiza +, Opuntia macrorhiza + and Opuntia macrorhiza +