Opuntia stricta (Haw.) Haw.

Common Prickly-pear

Syn. Pl. Succ. 191 (1812) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Spreading to erect, clump-forming shrub to c. 1.5 m high; trunk absent or poorly developed. Terminal cladodes compressed, elliptic to obovate, 15–25 cm long, 7–13 cm wide, dull, mid green to grey-green; areoles up to c. 30 per cladode face, c. 3–5 cm apart, filled with brownish wool and short yellow glochids; spines absent or 1 per areole in some marginal areoles, spreading, rigid, 1–4(–6) cm long, 0.5–1 mm wide near base, yellow to brown. Flowers 5–6.5 cm diam.; sepaloids greenish with yellow margins; petaloids spreading, yellow, apices rounded to emarginate; stamens yellow; style and stigmas pale yellow or whitish; hypanthium smooth. Fruit obovoid, 4–6 cm long, 2.5–4 cm diam., shallowly depressed at apex, smooth, purple, juicy, deciduous when ripe. Flowers late spring–summer.

*CVU, *GipP, *Gold, *HSF, *MuF, *MuM, *NIS, *OtP, *RobP, *VRiv, *VVP, *Wim. Naturalised all mainland States. Native to drier areas of tropical and subtropical America. A serious weed, particularly in dry, rocky country (e.g. Eldorado near Beechworth, Organ Pipes National Park near Keilor).

Created by: Val Stajsic, 2017-05-02
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2019-08-28
Hero image
Distribution map
life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Cactaceae
genus Opuntia
Higher taxa


Source: AVH (2014). Australia's Virtual Herbarium, Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, <http://avh.chah.org.au>. Find Opuntia stricta in AVH ; Victorian Biodiversity Atlas, © The State of Victoria, Department of Environment and Primary Industries (published Dec. 2014) Find Opuntia stricta in Victorian Biodiversity Atlas
  Bioregion Occurrence status Establishment means
Murray Mallee present naturalised
Wimmera present naturalised
Victorian Volcanic Plain present naturalised
Victorian Riverina present naturalised
Robinvale Plains present naturalised
Murray Fans present naturalised
Gippsland Plain present naturalised
Otway Plain present naturalised
Goldfields present naturalised
Central Victorian Uplands present introduced
Northern Inland Slopes present naturalised
Highlands-Southern Fall present naturalised

State distribution

Distribution map
Western Australia
Northern Territory
South Australia
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory