This unusual Prickly Pear has variegated leaf pads. The principal color is a dark green with a silvery-green overlay. It is a fast grower and can reach 20′ tall. Each oblong paddle can get to be up to 12″ long and 5″ wide. It is possible that small amounts of pink can also be found. Flowers are 3″ yellow to orange-brown, with reddish outer perianth segments.
Pronunciation: op-UN-tee-a mon-ah-KANTH-uh
Species Meaning: From the Greek monos (one, only) and akantha (thorn, spine)
Best in full sun with water 2 or 3 times a month during the growing season. Protect from heavy rain in winter. They also need cool temperatures, between 45F and 55F, over winter to bloom. Opuntia grow well in clay pots that is not overly large – just large enough to accommodate the roots.
Best propagated by cuttings. Sever pads from the parent plant and allow the cut end to dry before potting. Put them in a fairly dry, free-draining soil.
Opuntia usually have both thorns and glochids. While protection from the thorns is obvious, you need to be very careful with the glochids. They are full of very easily detached, barbed spears that easily embed themselves in the skin causing irritation. They can persist for a long time causing some sever skin issues. Use a magnifying glass and tweezers to remove them or place duct tape over the infected area and hopefully many of them will come off with the tape when removed. Alternatively use wax and gauze to remove them in the same manner that unwanted hair is removed.
In Our Garden
Plant ID: P21163
Found in Pots,
Will probably remain in a pot so that it can get winter protection from our copious rains.
We acquired this plant from California Dreemin.