Dog cactus, Dog cholla, Clavellina

Opuntia schottii Engelm.

Cactaceae (Cactus family)


Also called dog pear or clavellina, this plant is a mat-forming cactus, with the clumps reaching 4 to 6 inches tall and 3 to 9 feet in diameter. Dog cactus is an extreme nuisance, as its stems break off when stepped on or brushed against by livestock, wildlife or people.

The joints of this plant are  to 2› inches long, with many 1- to 2-inch-long spines that are brownish or gray tinged with pink or red. The spines are sheathed (encased with a protective covering) only at the tips.

The flowers and fruit are yellow; the fruit is fleshy and expanded upward.

The forage value of dog cactus is poor for livestock and wildlife.


This plant grows in sandy to sandy loam soils at elevations of 900 to 4,500 feet in West Texas and New Mexico.