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

What is Opuntia strigil?

Opuntia strigil is a prickly pear cactus in west TX, 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 perhaps as wide composed of nearly circular cladodes. There are 5 to 8(10) spines per areole with many deflexed but some nearly erect. Centrals on this Opuntia may be 1 to 3 cm long.

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

The Flora of North America online reports, “Opuntia strigil is reminiscent of a [small] brown-spined form of O. chlorotica chlorotica.”  Read the original  description. Opuntia strigil is diploid.

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

Leave a Comment