golden pricklypear Cactaceae Opuntia
aurea E.M. Baxter symbol: OPAU2
Leaf: Reduced to a spine (but spines are often absent), usually single; areoles approximately 1 1/2 inch apart.
Flower: Yellow, or pink, 2 inches across, late spring to early summer, born along the edges of the joints.
Fruit: Barrel-shaped, fleshy, unarmed, tan to gray, 1 inch, maturing late summer.
Twig: Segmented, each segment broad and flat, oval to round in shape, to 6 inches long and less than one inch thick, often described as a "beaver tail", gray-green.
Form: Shrubby, to a height of 1 1/2 feet, forming 4 foot wide clumps.
Looks like: Plains pricklypear
Additional Range Information: Opuntia aurea is native to North America. Range may be expanded by planting. Download the full-size PDF map.
External Links: USDA Plants Database
All material © 2019 Virginia Tech Dept. of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation; Photos and text by: John Seiler, Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera, and John Peterson; Silvics reprinted from Ag Handbook 654; range map source information