Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)


Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia basilaris

When most people think of cactus, the look of the Prickly Pear Cactus often comes to mind. Opuntia basilaris is native to the Southwest and is characterized by its flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. One of the great things about this cacti is that as the weather gets cooler, its light green pads can turn to a wonderful shade of purple! This color change is a welcome addition to any landscape that could use some color! They also produce large yellow blooms that forms the classic fruit. As an added bonus, both the fruit and the pads are edible and are rich in slowly absorbed soluble fibers, which may help keep blood sugar stable.

As beneficial as the pads and fruit of Prickly Pear Cactus are, it’s also a fantastic landscaping plant. It’s an easy-to-care-for plant that is naturally suited for our environment. Opuntia basilaris love to grow in full sun and have low to moderate watering needs. In fact, it’s a fantastic water-wise and ultra-drought tolerant plant once established. This is a great choice for anyone that is looking to bring the classic desert feel to any landscape, and best of all, it’s edible if you choose to do so!

A drought tolerant landscape can be attractive and bring many rewards – from reducing water use to adding curb appeal. Handling Prickly Pear Cactus can be a bit tricky, so why not let our professional landscaping crew do all the work!

  • A plant with many uses!
  • Cactus appears much like a shrub
  • Light green pads can turn to a shade or purple as the weather cools
  • Edible fruit sold in stores under the name “tuna”
  • Pads are edible and sold in stores under the name “Nopalito”
  • A variety of Prickly Pear Cactus drink recipes available


Fast growing

Water Wise - Ultra drought tolerant

Low maintenance