Tasajillo, Turkey pear

Opuntia leptocaulis DC.

Cactaceae (Cactus family)


Tasajillo has cylindric, jointed stems in which the individual segments are › inch or less in length. A member of the Cactus family, the plant has a general brushy appearance and usually grows to less than 5 feet tall.

Tasajillo leaves are tiny; they appear only briefly at each cluster of spines when new segments emerge. The plant produces small, inconspicuous, greenish flowers. The fruit is red, fleshy, globe shaped and less than an inch long. The spines are white, slender and from  inch to 2 inches long.

Tasajillo often reaches the greatest densities along fence lines or under trees, where the seeds are transported by birds.

This plant spreads by seeds, which are relished by wildlife.


Tasajillo is most abundant on sandy loam and clay loam soils and is often found in association with honey mesquite.