Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea

Old Man Cactus


Plant Type: Cactus
Sun: Sun
Drainage: Well-draining
Water: Naturalize, Occasional
Height X Width: 1' X 2'
Santa Clara County Local: No
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$12.00

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Description

This variety of the plains pricklypear grows at higher elevations in southeastern California and the Southwest. It is named for its long flexible spines that give the cactus a hairy, grizzled appearance. The several varieties are tetraploid, i.e. they have four chromosomes instead of the usual two. This results in a relatively fast pace of diversification on the evolutionary tree. The old man cactus consequently varies from location to location. Generally, it grows as a low patch of oval pads with dense covering of draping, white spines. Like all cactus, it prefers well-draining soil and little or no water. Although a southern species, old man cactus is quite tolerant of extreme cold. The winter temperatures of SF Bay Area are well within its temperature tolerance.

Characteristics

Deer Resistant: Yes
Attractive to Bees: Yes
Attractive to Butterflies: Yes
Good Under Oaks: No
Evergreen or Deciduous: Evergreen