Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

California Prickly Pear

Opuntia littoralis

Description:

Opuntia littoralis generally grows in dense clumps spreading several meters wide and up to a meter-3 feet tall. The branches are made up of oval-shaped flat segments up to 22 centimeters long. It is covered in clusters of yellowish spines 2 to 4 centimeters long. The flowers are yellow or red. The fruit is purplish red and up to 5 centimeters long. The large spines of prickly pear are not barbed, but the plant also has smaller spines called glochids, that if contacted by skin may be painful and difficult to remove.

Habitat:

chaparral in rocky and sandy soils, this plant is a cactus This spotting was done at the Bolsa Chica Wetlands, an estuary and bird sanctuary located next to the Pacific Ocean.

Notes:

The prickly pear has many uses. The fruit is edible and is used for jelly, soups and in drinks. The pads of the plant itself are sometimes eaten, and the seeds may be used as a thickener. The plant is also used as a dye and has been studied for treatment of diabetes.

Species ID Suggestions



Sign in to suggest organism ID

2 Comments

catgrin
catgrin 9 years ago

Thank you!

Maria dB
Maria dB 9 years ago

That first photo is beautiful!

catgrin
Spotted by
catgrin

Orange, California, USA

Spotted on May 28, 2012
Submitted on May 29, 2012

Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team