There are well over 200 varieties of prickly pear. Some have blue-gray pads, some are bright green and others are tinged with violet. Cup-shaped flowers appear in May and bloom in shades of yellow, orange or magenta. All cactus family spines grow out of a cluster called aureole. Some species lack long spines but have glochids instead. These are like porcupine quills, in that they are barbed to go further in, not out. If you are unfortunate enough to come in contact with these tiny spines, removing them from your skin is difficult. Opuntia Basilaris, or Beavertail Pricky Pear, typically blue-gray or deep green pads with aureoles of glochids. Brilliant magenta flowers appear in May. It grows to one foot high and spreads to four feet wide, taking the form and space of a small shrub in the landscape. It is native to the southwestern United States.
Source: Lush & Efficient
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