Opuntia strigil

Opuntia strigil
Opuntia strigil

Engelmann, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 3: 290, 1856

Isolectotype; Isolectotype; Isolectotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

 Original Description

What is Opuntia strigil?

Opuntia strigil is a prickly pear cactus in west Texas, mostly west of the Pecos River and apparently not entering NM. The Opuntia grows on limestone hills from 2500 to 4500 ft, but also on creosote flats in the Texas trans-Pecos area.


The plants are distinctive in habit, forming sturdy shrubs to nearly 100 cm tall and perhaps as wide composed of nearly circular cladodes. There are 5-8(10) spines per areole with many deflexed but some nearly erect. Centrals on this Opuntia may be 1 to 3 cm long.

Flowers are cream-yellow, but tepals may be orangish in the backside midveins. he anthers are pale. The style is pale cream and stigma lobes are greenish-yellow. Fruits are red and nearly spherical.

Opuntia strigil is diploid.

Other Notes

The Flora of North America online reports, “Opuntia strigil is reminiscent of a [small] brown-spined form of O. chlorotica chlorotica,” but that is not our experience. 

O. strigil is a handsome garden plant, though it may become large in time. 

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