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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.  
Image of Opuntia ficus-indica 'Gray Form'
[2nd Image]
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. 

Information about Opuntia ficus-indica 'Gray Form' displayed on this page is based on our research about it conducted in our library and gathered from reliable online sources. We include observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well as how the crops have performed in containers in our own nursery field. We will also incorporate comments that we receive from others about this plant when we feel it adds information and particularly welcome hearing from anyone who has any additional cultural recommendations that would aid others in growing it.