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Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 12, 2007, September 2, 2007, and October 21, 2010.

Opuntia phaeacantha produces abundant flowers (yellow or pink) and red fruits.

Notice that pads may have dense clusters of brown hairs ("glochids") along the pad margins or may have none. 

Spines may be very light-colored or (especially as the third photograph shows) the spines may be purple/black.  Again as the third photograph shows, this wide contrast in spine color even shows up on the same plant.

 

Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
 

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 12, 2007 and April 18, 2010.

Opuntia phaeacantha's long, brown-tipped spines are formidable but far less of a problem for humans than the multitude of brown, minute, hair-like, glochids  --  the fuzzy and soft-appearing hair clusters usually found along the pad margins but also common everywhere at the base of the spines.  These little devils are painful and difficult to remove.

 

Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha

Opuntia phaeacantha (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Spring, summer.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, June 12, 2007 and September 2, 2007.

Opuntia phaeacantha's flowers are typical of Cactaceae  --  very large and vibrantly colored.  Flowers open wide and remain open for many days.

Opuntia phaeacantha (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Spring, summer.
Near Bluff, Utah, April 24, 2008.

Opuntia phaeacantha
Opuntia phaeacantha (Brown-spined Prickly Pear Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills. Openings. Spring, summer.
Mesa Verde National Park, Prater Ridge Trail, June 17, 2006.

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