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Products > Opuntia ficus-indica 'Gray Form'
Opuntia ficus-indica 'Gray Form' - Nopal

Note: This plant is not currently for sale. This is an archive page preserved for informational use.  

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Habit and Cultural Information
Category: Succulent
Family: Cactaceae (Cactus)
Origin: Mexico (North America)
Evergreen: Yes
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloomtime: Summer
Height: 3-4 feet
Width: 6-8 feet
Exposure: Full Sun
Seaside: Yes
Summer Dry: Yes
Irrigation (H2O Info): Low Water Needs
Winter Hardiness: 0-10 F
Opuntia ficus-indica 'Gray Form' (Nopal) - A variety of shrubby cactus that grows to 6-10 feet tall with branches bearing many oblong 1 1/2 foot long bluish-green thick pads. In spring and early summer appear the 4 inch orange-yellow flowers along the edges at the tips of the pads. The flowers produce edible pear-shaped fleshy reddish-purple fruits (tunas) whose taste has been likened to watermelon. The pads are cooked and eaten as well and called "nopales" or "nopalitos". Plant in full sun. This is a very drought tolerant plant and is hardy to below 20 F. The native habitat for this Opuntia is not known and as it has been in cultivation for many years it is now found in locations all over the world. From seed received from South America Luther Burbank grew and hybridized Opuntia in the early part of the 1900s for use as cattle fodder. Unfortunately cattle did not find it palatable but the plant has remained in cultivation as an ornamental and for human consumption. We grew this plant from 2003 until 2008.  The information on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources as well as from observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery, in the nursery's garden and in other gardens that we have observed it in. We also will incorporate comments received from others and always appreciate getting feedback of any kind from those who have additional information, particularly if this information is contrary to what we have written or includes additional cultural tips that might aid others in growing Opuntia 'Gray Form'.