Opuntio microdasys rufida

Published on: 09 August 2019
By Citizen Scientists of Unixploria
Species:O. microdasys rufida

Author: Engelmann, George (1856)

Opuntia microdasys forms a dense shrub 40–60 cm tall, occasionally more, composed of pad-like stems 6–15 cm long and 4–12 cm broad.

Instead of spines, it has numerous white or yellow glochids 2–3 mm long in dense clusters. They are barbed and thinner than the most delicate human hairs, detaching in large numbers upon the slightest touch. If not removed, they will cause considerable skin irritation, so the plants must be treated with caution.

The Latin specific epithet microdasys means “small and hairy”.

The yellow flowers appear only rarely. Despite this, it is a very popular cactus in cultivation, partly because of the young plant’s comical resemblance to a rabbit’s head. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.

The Opuntia rufida differs in having reddish-brown glochids. It occurs further north in northern Mexico, and into western Texas. Some botanists treat the two as a single species.


Acquired: 2016

Indb: #1