Native & Naturalized Plants of the Carolinas & Georgia


988

Shrub
Perennial

Native to the Carolinas & Georgia
Documented growing wild in GA NC SC

Common in Coastal Plain (uncommon in Piedmont & Mountains)

Look for it on granite outcrops, coastal dunes and scrub, sandhills, pine forests in sandy soils, Gulf Coast barrier Islands, riverine sand, per Weakley's Flora

map
To see a detailed map, click here

 

full sun partial shade ...Variable ...Dry

LEAVES:
Evergreen
Simple
Alternate

FLOWER:
Spring/Summer
Yellow
Bisexual or sometimes functionally staminate
Radially symmetrical
Numerous tepals (usually)
Numerous stamens (usually)
Inferior ovary

FRUIT:
Summer/Fall
Purple/ Reddish-brown
Berry

 

TO LEARN MORE about this plant, look it up in a good book!



Spermatophytes (seed plants): Angiosperms (flowering plants): Eudicots: Core Eudicots: Caryophyllales

WEAKLEY'S FLORA (11/30/12):
Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha   FAMILY Cactaceae

LESS THAN PLANTS NATIONAL DATABASE:
Opuntia humifusa   FAMILY Cactaceae

LESS THAN VASCULAR FLORA OF THE CAROLINAS (1968) 132-01-001:
Opuntia compressa   FAMILY Cactaceae

GREATER THAN Manual of the Southeastern Flora (Small, 1933)
Opuntia pollardii

LESS THAN Flora of North America
Opuntia humifusa var. humifusa

 

COMMON NAME:
Eastern Prickly Pear


Click or hover over the thumbnails to see larger pictures.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database / Britton, N.L., and A. Brown. 1913    pnd_ophu_001_lvd

        

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

Patrick D. McMillan    pdmohumifusavarhumif_pc1

April    Pickens County    SC

Poe Creek State Forest

Stem made up of jointed pads shaped like ping pong paddles, ~ 1/2" thick, per All About South Carolina Wildflowers.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

Patrick D. McMillan    pdmohumifusavarhumif_pc2

April    Pickens County    SC

Poe Creek State Forest

Fruit a shiny reddish-brown berry, edible after tiny spines are removed, per All About South Carolina Wildflowers.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

JK Marlow    jkm0405zb_06

May    Greenville County    SC

Chandler Heritage Preserve

The tiny leaves below the clumps of hairlike spines (glochids) fall early, per All About South Carolina Wildflowers.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

JK Marlow    jkm0405zb_22

May    Greenville County    SC

Chandler Heritage Preserve

Spines 2-3" long may or may not be present among the smaller hairy barbs, per All About South Carolina Wildflowers.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

JK Marlow    jkm060603_052

June    Pickens County    SC

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

JK Marlow    jkm060604_043

June    Pickens County    SC

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

Patrick D. McMillan    pdmohumifusa_lrhabit

June    Pickens County    SC

Table Rock State Park

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

Patrick D. McMillan    pdmohumifusavarhumif_lr5

June    Pickens County    SC

Table Rock State Park

Inner tepals pale to bright yellow throughout; filaments yellow to orange, per Flora of North America.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

Patrick D. McMillan    pdmohumifusavarhumif_lr6

June    Pickens County    SC

Table Rock State Park

Anthers pale yellow to cream; style and stigma lobes white, per Flora of North America.

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

Tim Spira    tpsohumifusa2

June        

image of Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha

JK Marlow    jkm090816_030

August    Pickens County    SC