Pronounciation: O-PUN-tee-a a-sic-u-LA-ta
Character: Stiff cuddly and fuzzy, deceptive
Growth Habit: Somewhat upright and spreading to 3 feet tall with generally a 4 feet spread when mature, growth rate is moderately slow.
Foliage/texture: Stems are jointed into circular fleshy greenish pads. Pads are uniquely covered with areoles containing a dense array of brown glochids and no spines, small new pads in spring contain ephemeral cone-like leaves; coarse texture.
Flowers/fruits: Flowers are a brilliant apricot vermillion color, 2 to 3 inches across and are borne on upper terminal margins of pads; fruit oblong, 2 to 3 inches long, red to purple, edible.
Seasonal color: A profusion of flowers in mid spring, fruit in summer.
Temperature: Highly tolerant of desert heat.
Light: Full sun
Watering: None after established
Pruning: Prune by removing pad segments of any length to control spread.
Propagation: Cutting and dispersal of pads.
Disease and pests: Root rot and some cochineal scale.Additional comments: Red flower prickly pear is an excellent very nice spreading cactus for small to medium size formal desert cactus gardens. The species name aciculata comes from the latin for "covered with small pins" (that were used for headdresses) - referring to the conspicuous glochids.