Opuntia basilaris, NV
Opuntia basilaris, NV

We are a group of botanists that enjoys writing about and photographing Opuntia and related plants. We enjoy studying them in the field and growing them in our gardens. We hope you enjoy reading about them. 

Write to us. We are always happy to hear from others if there is a point we have not considered or if we have made an error. Such input will only make this Website better. 

Editorial Board

Opuntia charlestonensis
Opuntia charlestonensis

Joe J. Shaw, PhD ELS, Publisher and Executive Editor

Joe is a botanist and a plant pathologist, and he is a former associate professor of Botany. He grew up in the West and spent much time studying plants there. As publisher, he builds the Opuntia Website and organizes the content. Joe writes most of the Website and provides many of the photos. He works with the other editors to get Opuntia photo IDs correct before publishing them online. Joe still travels throughout the West to study plants and to consult with other scientists.

David J. Ferguson, Curator Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Albuquerque, NM, Executive Editor and Senior Scientific Editor

Dave is our taxonomist, and he has the nearly impossible job of making sure all Opuntia photographs are correctly identified. He is also a retired curator of the Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque, NM. Dave has many years of experience exploring North and South America to study Opuntia, other cacti, and other types of plants. Dave is a published author of multiple books and papers about cacti including Pricklypears Commonly Found in the United States and Northern Mexico. He is also referenced in multiple cactus-related publications, e.g., “Cacti of the Trans-Pecos & Adjacent Areas” (AM Powell and JF Weedin, 2004, Texas Tech University Press).

Nancy Hussey, Editor for the Mojave Desert

Mt. Charleston, NV
Mt. Charleston, NV

Nancy has grown plants and studied them for many years; she has the difficult task of keeping tabs on the Mojave Desert and its Opuntia species. The Mojave Desert is home to some poorly documented and rare species. Additionally, Nancy has the largest Opuntia garden in northern Arizona. She grows her plants just the way Nature would, with no extra water or fertilizer. The plants look just like they do in the wild, and she provides many photographs of hard-to-find plants. Moreover, Nancy is a co-discoverer of O. diploursina. Finally, Nancy is our beta tester for software, site changes, and theme updates.

Daniel A. Green, Editor for Florida

Opuntia ammophila, FL
Opuntia ammophila, FL

Danny is our Florida botanist and ecologist. He is responsible for identifying the many Opuntia species in that state including some that are difficult to find and some that are very poorly understood. Danny is an outdoor kind of guy and he especially enjoys locating, studying, and photographing hard-to-find plants, including rare Florida opuntias.

The Other Stuff


Most photos were taken by the publisher or the editors, and most were taken in habitat with the goal of showing their natural state. Some Opuntia plants were photographed in gardens. Some plants were photographed by others, and photographer credits are provided.   

Special Photo Contributor

Derrill Pope provided multiple photographs of flowers. Contact him at Flower Mountain Nursery if you would like to buy cacti (FaceBook or email: [email protected]).


We accept advertisements. We earn a small amount from them (about $15 in the first 8 months of 2020). Our goal is to earn enough to pay part of the costs of running this website, which costs about $300 per year to operate. We are far from that goal. 


All rights are reserved. For purely, fully, strictly, and explicitly nonprofit use, we are happy to share in most cases; just write to us. Some Opuntia photographs and related text belong to others and they must be contacted individually to obtain permissions. All materials originally published before 1925 may be used freely as is the case with government publications.

Terms of Use

Opuntia camanchica, Carlsbad, NM
Opuntia camanchica, Carlsbad, NM

We strive to provide accurate information, but errors may occur. We (all persons providing content, photographs, ideas, information, or commentary herein) are not responsible for any confusion, ill effects, damages, or losses resulting from the use or interpretation of any materials or information herein.

We do not collect/retain any personally identifying information, nor do we wish to. Like most WordPress-powered websites, we use cookies and we provide anonymous data to Google Analytics to determine how many people visit our site. See more information here about our cookie and privacy policies

Software etc.

We use WordPress as a content management system because it is easy (somewhat) for us to use and does not require extensive coding skills (it is mostly drag-and-drop). Also, we can always get help from the WordPress forums if we run into a problem. We use CloudFlare, Jet Pack, an image compression program, and other plugins that assist in smooth and fast Website operation. We have used several ISPs; currently, we use HostGator and are satisfied. 

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