blind pricklypear Cactaceae Opuntia
rufida Engelm. symbol: OPRU3
Leaf: Reduced to a spine or often without spines, if present the spines are 1/2 inch or less, with many spines per areole, areoles resembling reddish-brown hairy tufts, areoles 1 1/2 to 2 inches apart.
Flower: Yellow to orange-red, three inches, spring, born along the edges of the joints.
Fruit: Rounded, fleshy, unarmed or armed with very short spines, yellow-green ripening to red, 1 inch, maturing late summer.
Twig: Segmented, each segment broad and flat, oval to round in shape, to 8 inches long and less than one inch thick, often described as a "beaver tail".
Form: Shrubby, to a height of 6 feet, forming wide-spreading clumps.
Looks like: Engelmann's pricklypear - Plains pricklypear
Additional Range Information: Opuntia rufida is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. See states reporting blind pricklypear.
External Links: USDA Plants Database - Horticulture Information
All material © 2017 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson