Opuntia engelmannii (Engelmann Prickly Pear) is a bushy succulent shrub with light green or bluish green, egg-shaped, fleshy pads, up to 12 in. across (30 cm). It forms sizeable clusters and grows either upright or spreading.
The overall form of Opuntia engelmannii is generally shrubby, with dense clumps up to 3.5 metres (11 ft) high, usually with no apparent trunk. The pads are green (rarely blue-green), obovate to round, about 15–30 cm long and 12–20 cm wide. It is cultivated as an ornamental plant, for use in drought tolerant gardens, container plantings, and natural landscaping projects. It goes by a variety of common names, including cow's tongue cactus, cow tongue prickly pear, desert prickly pear, discus prickly pear, Engelmann's prickly pear, and Texas prickly pear in the US, and nopal, abrojo, joconostle, and vela de coyote in Mexico.