Pronounciation: O-PUN-tee-a ba-si-LAR-is
Sunset 8, 9, 10-24
Character: Much branched and prostrate with individual stems upright, stiff
Growth Habit: Mounding and spreading to 2 feet tall with generally a 4 feet spread when mature, growth rate is moderately slow.
Foliage/texture: Stems are jointed into fleshy pads that are curiously thickened and shaped like a beaver's tail to 2 feet long. Usually stems are glaucous with areoles containing glochids (white to brown) and no spines, pads are occasionally pleated when drought stressed; coarse texture.
Flowers & fruits: Flowers are a brilliant magenta pink in spring, 3 to 4 inches across, 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: Higly 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, cochineal scaleAdditional comments: Beavertail cactus is a very nice spreading cactus for small to medium size formal desert cactus gardens. Here is a fascinating hybrid cross of Opuntia santa rita and Opuntia basilaris. Someone please pluck off a pad of this for my yard!