The Prickly pear is one of the largest species of cacti with a long history of use by indigenous cultures throughout the Southwest and Mexico. This species can eventually grow with an upright habit 10-18 ft. tall with with long medium green flattened pads, 12-18 in. long. Pale yellow to white flowers occur in spring and are followed by large edible fruit that are either red, orange or yellow in color. Bristle-like spines are common; different selections of this species are grown and will have greater or fewer spines.
Prickly pear is currently a popular species for agriculture and garden plantings in subtropical and Mediterranean climate zones around the world for its fruit. It is is also highly popular as a specimen and accent plant in Southwestern, Mediterranean and arid garden plantings within the Inland Empire. It is among our most drought-adapted plants that survives long periods of heat and drought by storing moisture in its thickened stems and pads.