Opuntia humifusa Eastern prickly pear cactus Cactaceae OPHU; Bx, pb (DeCandido 2001); NY, tr; Q, j (Stalter and Lamont 2002); K (DeCandido 2001), fl (Zihao Wang 2016); R, sm (planted); 



Opuntia.humifusa.M. B. Gargiullo. (ca 1989)

Opuntia humifusa is a perennial herb from fibrous roots, forming mats, stems segmented, photosynthetic, formed of thick, fleshy, flat oval pads 4-12 cm long, 2-8 cm wide with small bristly-spiny cushions scattered over the surface, gray-green turning reddish in winter. 

Leaves none. 

Opuntia humifusa.Dave Taft.Brooklyn, NYC.urban desert.7.9.2016

Opuntia humifusa.Dave Taft.Brooklyn, NYC.urban desert.7/2016 (Accessed 7/2016).

Flowers yellow, showy, 4-8 cm wide, numerous petals, sepals greenish, grading into petal; stamens numerous; blooming June-July. 

Fruit fleshy, oval, red, with depressed top, 2.5-5 cm, 2 cm wide, top depressed, tapered to base; seeds numerous 0.3-0.5 cm long (Radford et al. 1968), black, flattened, embedded in red, edible pulp. 

Wetland status: UPL. 

Frequency in NYC: Infrequent. 

Origin: native. 

Habitat: Dry sand of back dunes. Occasionally on cliff faces or rocky sites. Possibly planted in some sites and escaped. Common on Sandy Hook, NJ. 

Notes: Eaten by raccoons, which disperse seeds (Gargiullo personal observation). Also eaten by coyotes, foxes and skunks (Wilson 1993).  .