Opuntia Miller (1754)

(Greek "opos" = figs sap)
Because of the figs similar fruits or a combination of the Aztec name "nopali" (Spain "nopal" = Opuntia) and
(Latin "pungere" = prick) Prickly Pear.
By the natives as Tuna mentioned. In the 16th century by the Spanish imported and escaped to the climatic favorable Mediterranean region.
The Greek scholar Plinius designated a plant as Opuntia which occurred near the Greek town Opunet.
Curiously enough prevailed the name of the escaped Tuna, it became recognized as genus name later.

tree-like or shrubby, pads flat circular, also dwarf forms with globular pads; spines very different in number, lenght and color
flowers wide opening, mostly on the upper pad edge, yellow, whiteish-yellow, orange or shades of red
fruits large, firgs similar shaped, color different, partly eatable, partly used as fodder; seeds large, broad circular, flat

Highslide JS


from Canada (British Columbia) thru the USA and Mexico to south Chile
steppes and mountains

Growth period

very sunny and hot, a location outdoors is possible and recommend
sufficient watering and fertilize, hardly sensitive to too much moisture
without sufficient fertilizer the plants begin to waste away
best time therefor is from March to May, at least it should be consumed the nitrogen reserves in June
the best is to use a complete fertilizer therefor

Winter period

complete dry at about 42–50 F (6–10°C)


nutritious, permeable to water and porous
addition of some humus, quartz gravel, pumice, expanded slate, expanded clay is recommendable
do not choose the pots too small
Opuntia basilaris Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow (1856)
Highslide JS
  Highslide JS   Highslide JS


Arizona, Utah, California, Nevada
Baja California, Sonora
on hills, in valleys and dried canyons up to ca. 8860 ft (2700 m) altitude


basilar Opuntia
flattened, branched above the soil, pads 4.7–11.8 in (12–30 cm) long, obovate,
tongue-shaped or heart-shaped, with tiny rudimentary leaves, fine velvet-like, blue-green,
around the areoles and pad edges red tinged
spines absent

glochids reddish or brown, falling off soon
flowers to 2 in (5 cm) Ø, purple-reddish
seeds large, circular, corky

Flowering time

May–June in cultivation
March–June in habitat


Opuntia basilaris is with protection against rain and moisture cold hardy to ca. -4 F (- 20°C).
Synonyms -
CITES Appendix II
Description of "Kakteen von A bis Z" by Walter Haage with courtesy by Kakteen-Haage made available.