Opuntia engelmannii

Opuntia engelmannii

Opuntia engelmannii is a species in the genus Opuntia ( Opuntia ) from the cactus family ( Cactaceae ). The specific epithet honors the engelmannii American botanist George Engelmann.


Opuntia engelmannii grows bushy with numerous ascending or lengthwise prostrate branches. It forms dense cushions which reach a height of up to 3.5 meters. A strain is rarely trained. The reverse- egg-shaped to round, sometimes elongated drive sections are green to blue-green rare. They are 15 to 30 inches long, 12 to 20 inches wide and up to 2 inches thick. The elliptical, 2.5 to 4 inches apart areoles standing wearing yellow glochids turn brown with age. The 1-8 spines, which sometimes may be absent at the lower areoles also are highly variable and are close to the surface of the engine sections. They are yellowish, subulate, slightly flattened and are between 1-6 inches long.

The yellow, red, sometimes blooms reach a length and a diameter of 5 to 8 cm. The fleshy, purple fruits are ovoid to oblong vice versa. They are 3-7 cm long and have a diameter of 2 to 4 centimeters.

Systematics and distribution

Opuntia engelmannii is common in the U.S. states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. From there, the range extends through northern and central Mexico south to the Mexican states of San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Hidalgo.

The first description was published in 1850 by George Engelmann, who used the Salm- Dyck Reifferscheidt awarded by Joseph name.

We distinguish six varieties:

  • Opuntia engelmannii var engelmannii
  • Opuntia engelmannii var Cuija Griffiths & Hare: The variety has 3-8 pale yellow spines with red base.
  • Opuntia engelmannii var flavispina ( LDBenson ) BDParfitt & Pijia: The variety has 2-3 yellow spines of 6 centimeters in length, which is irregular red patterned.
  • Opuntia engelmannii var flexospina ( Griffiths ) BDParfitt & Pijia: The variety has 1 to 3 pliable, yellow spines.
  • Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri ( Engelm. ) BDParfitt & Pijia: The variety has 1-6 yellow spines often absent without red base on the lower areoles.
  • Opuntia engelmannii var linguiformis ( Griffiths ) BDParfitt & Pijia: The variety has drive segments that grow more or less indefinitely, and therefore are very long. Originally from Texas, the taxon in nature seems to have died.

There are very many invalid double descriptions and recombinations and following them into a multitude of synonyms.


Opuntia engelmannii var flavispina

Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri

Opuntia engelmannii var linguiformis


From the Pima be warmed engine sections of Opuntia engelmannii placed on the breasts of a new mother to stimulate their milk flow.