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Bunny Ears Opuntia microdasys

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
op-UN-shee-a my-kro-DAS-is
Description

Bunny Ears Cactus is native to northern Mexico and desert regions stretching into Arizona. This plant will grow 2-3 feet tall and spread 4-6 feet as a mature plant. It needs full sun in the summer months and should be grown in a pot with cactus potting soil to prevent root rot. In the winter months, it requires cooler temperatures of 50-65 degrees F, very little water and partial sun conditions. It may bloom if these conditions are met or it may die if they are not.

It is made up of stem-like pads with numerous yellow glochids that look cottony but contain numerous thin spines. Handle with gloves!. The pads are produced in pairs giving it the bunny ear look. Propagation is done by breaking off one of the pads in spring and rooting in well-drained soil. It rarely blooms with yellow cup-shaped flowers.

This plant is not frost tolerant and must be brought indoors in cooler climate areas. Grow in a container with well-drained potting soil made for cacti or succulents in a pot with many drainage holes.

 

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Houseplants, Succulents, and Cacti", a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens.   

More information on Opuntia.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscapes:
Juniper Level Botanic Gardens: Parking Lot Berms
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albata'
    White glochids
'Albata'
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#houseplant#yellow flowers#spines#red fruits#cactus#purple fruits#desert plant#container plant
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Albata'
    White glochids
'Albata'
Tags:
#full sun tolerant#houseplant#yellow flowers#spines#red fruits#cactus#purple fruits#desert plant#container plant
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Opuntia
    Species:
    microdasys
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico
    Edibility:
    Ripe fruit edible raw or in jelly. Pads can be eaten raw or cooked and have a mucilaginous texture. Remove spines and glochids from pads and fruit before eating.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 2 ft. 0 in. - 3 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 4 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Succulent
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Slow
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10a, 11a, 11b, 12b, 12a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Fruit Description:
    red or purple fruit
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Yellow cup-shaped flowers. Occur rarely.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    No leaves.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Stems segments are oval with numerous glochids in the areoles that look cottony but contain numerous thin spines.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Drought Tolerant Garden
    Edible Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil
    Problems:
    Spines/Thorns