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.