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Blind Prickly Pear
Opuntia rufida


Gravelly desert slopes play host to the blind prickly pear growing in the Big Bend area of the Trans-Pecos and Northern Mexico, from an elevation of 1800 to 3600 feet. It is fairly erect, with or without a real trunk. Its blue-green to grey-green joints lack noticeable spines, or it may be spineless. Yellow flowers change to orange and produce fleshy, smooth, bright red, rounded fruit. The joints or pads have many evenly spaced, polka-dotted areoles bearing numerous rusty reddish-brown glochids (little barbed hairs or bristles). These glochids are loosely attached and are prone to dislodge and fly into the air when the plants are bumped or shaken. They get into animals' eyes and cause blindness. Hence the common name. Rufida refers to the reddish-brown glochids.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: pale yellow, changing to orange with age

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: bright red, fleshy, 1 inch long

Height: 8 inches to 5 feet

Width: to 6 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: neutral

USDA Hardiness Zone: 8

Additional Comments:

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