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Useful Temperate Plants

Opuntia stricta

(Haw.) Haw.

Cactaceae

+ Synonyms

Cactus dillenii Ker Gawl.

Cactus strictus Haw.

Opuntia anahuacensis Griffiths

Opuntia dillenii (Ker Gawl.) Haw.

Opuntia inermis (DC.) DC.

Common Name:

Opuntia stricta
Flowering plant in native habitat
Photograph by: Richardson, R.G. & F.J.
Image credit to Australian National Botanic Gardens
Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta Opuntia stricta

General Information

Opuntia stricta is a shrubby, low-spreading to erect, evergreen cactus, sometimes forming large, wide clumps that are seldom more than 80cm tall, though occasional forms with definite trunks are known to grow 2 - 3 metres tall[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
529
Title
The Cactaceae
Publication
 
Author
Britton N.L. & Rose J.N.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Washington.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
An immense work in 4 volumes. Many of the botanical names are out of date, of course, but the book contains a wealth of information about the plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
]. The plant varies considerably in degrees of spininess, ranging from forms that are completely free of spines up to forms with relatively abundant spines[
529
Title
The Cactaceae
Publication
 
Author
Britton N.L. & Rose J.N.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Washington.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
An immense work in 4 volumes. Many of the botanical names are out of date, of course, but the book contains a wealth of information about the plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
The plant has been cultivated through much of the tropics, subtropics and warm temperate zone as a hedge plant and living fence, and also for sand dune fixation[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. The fruits are occasionally eaten[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
].
The plant has escaped from cultivation in many parts of the tropics and become an invasive pest species. The plant is capable of over-running large areas of land in a surprisingly short time[
529
Title
The Cactaceae
Publication
 
Author
Britton N.L. & Rose J.N.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Washington.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
An immense work in 4 volumes. Many of the botanical names are out of date, of course, but the book contains a wealth of information about the plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Known Hazards

Species in this genus generally have numerous minutely barbed glochids (hairs) that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].

Botanical References

266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
,
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
529
Title
The Cactaceae
Publication
 
Author
Britton N.L. & Rose J.N.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Washington.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
An immense work in 4 volumes. Many of the botanical names are out of date, of course, but the book contains a wealth of information about the plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.

Range

Northern S. America - Ecuador, Venezuela; C. America; Caribbean; southern N. America - Texas to Florida and Virginia.

Habitat

Coastal sand dunes, hammocks, edges of maritime forests, shell middens; at elevations around sea level[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. Thickets, rocks, sandy soils in areas of southern China where it has become naturalized[
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.
].

Properties

Weed PotentialYes
Edibility Rating *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

Cultivation Details


Requires a sunny position and a well-drained soil[
529
Title
The Cactaceae
Publication
 
Author
Britton N.L. & Rose J.N.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Washington.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
An immense work in 4 volumes. Many of the botanical names are out of date, of course, but the book contains a wealth of information about the plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].
Opuntia stricta hybridizes with Oountia engelmannii (apparently var. lindheimeri) forming Opuntia × alta Griffiths (as species) along the coast of southeastern Texas and adjacent Louisiana. The hexaploid hybrid is arborescent to 3 metres; it has stem segments subcircular to oblong-ovate, with a glochid pattern intermediate of the putative parents, all yellow spines, and light green stigma lobes[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Fruits - raw[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Insipid but very juicy, they can be made into syrup, jam or jelly[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. The pear-shaped, purplish, spine-free fruits can be up to 75mm long[
529
Title
The Cactaceae
Publication
 
Author
Britton N.L. & Rose J.N.
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org
Publisher
The Carnegie Institution of Washington; Washington.
Year
1920
ISBN
 
Description
An immense work in 4 volumes. Many of the botanical names are out of date, of course, but the book contains a wealth of information about the plants. It can be downloaded from the Internet.
].

Young pads - cooked as a vegetable[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
]. They can be cut into strips and boiled, or can be sun-dried for later use[
301
Title
Cornucopia II
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications, California.
Year
1998
ISBN
0-9628087-2-5
Description
The second edition of an excellent guide to the edible uses of plants, though it does not give any details of cultivation etc.
].

Medicinal

The fruit is said to have a value in the treatment of diabetes[
1174
Title
Ethnobotanical Uses of Biofencing Plants in Himachel Pradesh, Northwest Himalaya
Publication
Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 16 (24): 1957-1963, 2013
Author
Pankaj Sharma & Usha Devi
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
1028-8880
Description
A brief look at 61 species of plants used in hedging in northwest Himalayas nd their other uses
].

Agroforestry Uses:

The plant is traditionally grown in living fences in the northwestern Himalayas, where it helps to exclude livestock and other animals; mark out land boundaries; whilst also providing a range of medicinal and other uses[
1174
Title
Ethnobotanical Uses of Biofencing Plants in Himachel Pradesh, Northwest Himalaya
Publication
Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences 16 (24): 1957-1963, 2013
Author
Pankaj Sharma & Usha Devi
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
1028-8880
Description
A brief look at 61 species of plants used in hedging in northwest Himalayas nd their other uses
].
The plant spreads rapidly and has been used in the past to stabilize sand dunes, and to form hedges and living fences[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. Due to the plants propensity to spread into native environments, however, this practice should only be carried out within its native range or any other areas where it has proved to be better behaved[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

Other Uses

None known

Propagation

Seed - sow early spring in a very well-drained compost in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from winter wet. Make sure you have some reserve plants in case those outdoors do not overwinter.
Cuttings of leaf pads at any time in the growing season. Remove a pad from the plant and then leave it in a dry sunny place for a couple of days to ensure that the base is thoroughly dry and has begun to callous. Pot up into a sandy compost. Very easy, rooting quickly.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2018-12-12. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Opuntia+stricta>

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