12 responses to “Opuntia robusta”

  1. Bobbie

    This cactus is very familiar to me, since I was raised in New Mexico. I remember when my sister was dating her husband they would go find tunas and eat them instead of spending their time at the local drive-in.

  2. Carol Ross

    Since P robusta can grow that big, I wonder if it was the Opuntia that I saw on a roadside in Southern California in 1973? Unfortunately I lost all my slides in a house fire in 1986 and can’t show the picture, but I had taken several slides of it, one with my daughter standing in front of it for a size comparison. It towered over our heads to a height of at least 15 feet, and the pads were between one foot and one and a half feet. The spread was about 25 feet (our 20 ft long car was parked beside it and it was about 5 feet wider than the car was long). It was not in flower at the time (June I believe).
    Carol

  3. Judy Blevins

    How closely is this related to the “Michigan Cactus” that is hardy here in central Michigan? It grows only less than a foot tall, spreads out widely, has beautiful yellow flowers. The structure appears the same.

  4. Ron B

    Opuntia robusta is but one species in a genus of cacti with often similar overall structure and appearance, there are other species hardy farther north. One seen in Michigan might be eastern native O. humifusa.

  5. Joe

    I once went to a lecture regarding hybridization in Opuntia cacti as an excellent example of hybrid vigor. There was one hybrid that seemed to take on the adaptive characteristics of both of its parents as well as a “structural weakness” which made the pads more likely to break off. This weakness actually turns out to be somewhat of a strength, however, because those fallen pads would each reproduce vegetatively. I feel like O. robusta may have been one of the parents of this hybrid.

  6. Brian Carson

    Hi Daniel
    Opuntia are much tougher plants than most of us realize. O. fragilis not only grows wild near us around Kaladar ON but can also be found in northern British Columbia and northern Alberta. Locations are given in “A Review of the Distribution of the Native Cacti of Canada “- by Ken Hancock.
    Have never tried these epicurean treats here but under the Mexican sun with David in San Miguel I suspect they could prove quite delicious . . . with a little tequilla.

  7. Daniel Mosquin

    Hello Brian, I debated about using the phrase “southern Canada” to describe the distribution of Opuntia, but it is geographically accurate: the north-south centre of Canada is at 62 degrees north, which passes through Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Quebec.

  8. Peggy

    How does this differ from prickly pear? I have seen a lot of prickly pear all over OK and northern CA – the fruit is even sold at farmers’ markets here, just north of Santa Rosa CA.

  9. elizabeth a airhart

    i have been going from link to link
    to link tarrant gallant and paterson
    are just some of the best really really are
    a little salt and a wedge of lime
    and a shot of tequilla to one and all

  10. Karen Vaughan

    I have seen the virtually creeping Opuntia humifusa growing in along the estuarine banks of New York harbor. There are several opuntia species that will overwinter here.

  11. P J Evans

    I have friends with an O. robusta named ‘Mickey’. (It had three pads when they got it.) It’s growing quite happily in Los Angeles.

  12. Denis

    Judy,
    Michigan cactus? Everyone knows that’s an Ohio Prickly Pear. It just invaded Michigan.
    ;D
    Actually, O. humifusa would seem it would be better described as a Great Lakes Prickly Pear, as its found in the dune areas of the Great Lakes system, although that might be a bit restrictive of a lay epithet.
    I have a large patch that was started from a single pad I acquired from the Chadwick Arboretum, where it was overgrowing the sidewalk at the edge of the parking lot, while I was a student at Ohio State (19 years ago – I assume the statute of limitations is past on petty theft).

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