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Glendale Public Library
Xeriscape Demonstration Garden Information Sheet


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Opuntia engelmannii v. engelmannii

   The sage green pads of Opuntia engelmanii blend well in desert landscapes, and provide a great backdrop for the rosy-red fruit that adorn the pads in the summer months. Large yellow-orange flowers in the spring add another season of color. Clusters of brown glochids and occasional long spines are scattered along the pads, so it should be kept away from high traffic areas. Opuntia engelmanii grows at a moderate rate to form a large clump to 6 feet tall by 10-15 feet wide. This native of the southwestern U.S. and northern Mexico is extremely drought tolerant, thriving on as little as five inches of annual rainfall. It grows well in full sun to part shade, provided that drainage is adequate. Engelman's prickly pear is very useful as a screen and a habitat for birds and other wildlife. It can actually be slightly invasive, as birds eat the seed and distribute them as they go on their merry way. Like other prickly pear species, Opuntia engelmanii is susceptible to cochineal scale infestations. USDA Zone 7.  


Webmaster & Author George Hull Last Updated August 13, 2003