Summary details for Opuntia microdasys

Bunny-ear prickly pear

Opuntia microdasys

Common names: Bunny-ear prickly pear

Origin: Mexico.

Much branched succulent shrub, somewhat creeping to nearly erect, up to 1 m high, forming low, dense clumps. Cladodes flattened, ovate to almost round, almost always lacking spines but very finely velvety and carrying numerous dense pads (‘areoles’) of golden-yellow glochids (extremely irritating bristles that float off easily when disturbed, and can cause severe eye problems in humans and animals). Cladodes often grow in pairs, giving the appearance of bunny ears. Flowers yellow with dark green stigma. Fruit spineless, finely hairy, green ripening to dark red then yellow, ovoid to nearly globular, about 2.5 cm long, with many areoles bearing dense glochids.

Similar species: Opuntia rufida is a similar cactus with red to dark brown glochids instead of yellow. Some people regard them as different varieties of this species.

Opuntia microdasys
Opuntia microdasys © Photo: Coleen Mannheimer
Opuntia microdasys
Opuntia microdasys © Photo: Coleen Mannheimer
Opuntia microdasys
Opuntia microdasys © Photo: Coleen Mannheimer

Similar species

Bunny-ear prickly pear

Opuntia microdasys
© Photo: Coleen Mannheimer

Blind prickly pear

Opuntia rufida
© Photo: Coleen Mannheimer