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Opuntia

Phonetic Spelling
oh-POON-tee-ah
This plant has low severity poison characteristics.
See below
Description

Succulent, flattened stems or shrublike with cylindric stems; leaves lacking or modified into large spines; sharp-pointed glochids in clusters at base of spines; flowers variously colored, with many petals; fruit fleshy or dry.  This plant is resistant to damage by deer and is highly salt tolerant.

Poison Part: Glochids (minute bristle-like, barbed hairs in clusters) on the stems (green, thickened stems resemble leaves).

Poison Delivery Mode: Ingestion; splinter-like small infection due to glochids lodged in the skin, eye irritation.

Toxic Principle: Unknown; possibly mechanical effect of glochids.

Severity: CAUSES ONLY LOW TOXICITY IF EATEN. SKIN IRRITATION SEVERE!

Found in: Houseplant or interiorscape; Landscape as cultivated ornamental plants, native and naturalized, weedy in disturbed areas, lawns

Cultivars:
Tags:
#edible#resistant#piedmont#salt tolerant#coastal#deer resistant#spines#houseplants
Cultivars:
Tags:
#edible#resistant#piedmont#salt tolerant#coastal#deer resistant#spines#houseplants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Opuntia
    Family:
    Cactaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Americas
    Distribution:
    Coastal Plain, Piedmont
    Edibility:
    EDIBLE PARTS: Ripe fruit edible raw or in jelly. Leaf pads, fruit and seeds. HARVEST TIME: Only collect plants from areas you know. Remove spines and glochids from pads and fruit before eating.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Edible
    Native Plant
    Poisonous
    Succulent
    Appendage:
    Spines
  • Cultural Conditions:
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Pink
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Showy
    Fruit Description:
    Fleshy or dry, depending on the species
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Pink
    Flower Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Flower Petals:
    7 - 20 petals/rays
    Flower Description:
    Variously colored, with many petals
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Insignificant
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are modified into large spines that cover the large, fleshy stems in clusters.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Buds:
    Hairy
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Flattened stems or shrublike with cylindric stems. Glochids (minute bristle-like, barbed hairs in clusters) on the stems (green, thickened stems resemble leaves).
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Houseplants
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Design Feature:
    Edible
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Problems:
    Contact Dermatitis
    Weedy
  • Poison:
    Poison Severity:
    Low
    Poison Symptoms:
    Painful skin and eye irritation following contact due to a splinter-like small infection from glochids lodged in the skin; internal effects in diabetics from ingestion.
    Poison Toxic Principle:
    Unknown; possibly mechanical effect of glochids.
    Causes Contact Dermatitis:
    Yes
    Poison Part:
    Stems