Opuntia littoralis

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Opuntia littoralis
Opuntia littoralis var vaseyi 5.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Opuntia
O. littoralis
Binomial name
Opuntia littoralis
(Engelm.) Cockerell

Opuntia littoralis is a species of prickly pear cactus known by the common name coastal pricklypear. It is sometimes called the sprawling prickly pear due to its short stems and habit of growing close to the ground. "Littoral" means "pertaining to the seashore".[1]


Opuntia littoralis is native to southern California and Baja California, where it grows in coastal sage scrub[1] and chaparral habitats. The cactus is variable in appearance; there are several varieties and hybrids with similar species are commonly found.


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 centimetres (8.7 in) long. It is covered in clusters of yellowish spines 2 to 4 centimetres (0.79 to 1.57 in) long. The flowers are pale yellow[1] to dull red[2] occurring in May to June.[1] The fruit is purplish red and up to 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long. The fruit is edible.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e Flowering Plants of the Santa Monica Mountains, Nancy Dale, 2nd Ed., 2000, p. 88
  2. ^ Bruce D. Parfitt 2012, Opuntia littoralis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/eflora_display.php?tid=35277, accessed on April 08, 2018.

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