Opuntia littoralis

Opuntia littoralis
Opuntia littoralis

(Engelmann) Britton & Rose, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 50: 529, 1908

Lectotype; Syntype; Lectotype; Lectotype; Lectotype; Lectotype

What is Opuntia littoralis?

Opuntia littoralis is a California prickly pear cactus that was originally described as a variety of O. engelmannii, but the two species are not closely related.


O. littoralis plants are low and spreading, but they send branches upright as well. The oblong cladodes are 15 cm long or longer. Areoles may be elevated. Spines are yellow or pale yellow and may be 1/2-inch long or longer. There are multiple pale spines over much of the pad surface creating a shaggy look.

The flowers are yellow. The fruit is nearly globular.

O. littoralis is found “along and near” the coast of CA. The type locality is “coast from Santa Barbara to San Diego, California”. See the original citation. Opuntia littoralis may be hexaploid.

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