Opuntia ficus-indica, the prickly pear, is a species of cactus that has long been a domesticated crop plant grown in agricultural economies throughout arid and semiarid parts of the world. It is the most widespread and commercially important cactus.
The Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia) is a member of one of the largest of cactus families. When these cactus plants mature, they produce attractive red, orange or yellow flowers that can become edible “prickly pear fruits” on larger plants. You find small specimens included in cactus garden arrangements. These interesting and attractive cacti are an excellent way to get a started learning about the care of cactus plants. Be prepared to provide your little prickly pear plenty of space in a stable environment. Larger varieties grown outdoors can reach over fifteen feet high needing room to spread and grow tall outdoors. Houseplant varieties can grow to be a couple of feet high and need proper potting, warmth and lighting to thrive. This cactus can live a very long time and attain heirloom status if well-cared-for.