The Purple Prickly Pear (Opuntia macrocentra) is a ground-hugging to nearly upright branched shrubs 60-120 cm tall, up to 3 m wide, usually 4-10 joints high; rarely with distinct trunks. The red-tinged succulent pads and very long spines (macrocentra means long spine) easily distinguish it from the many other species of prickly pear. The purple tinge is greatest around the areoles and on the edges, although the entire plant may be purple in winter.

Commn Name: Purple Prickly Pear 

Botanical Name: Opuntia macrocentra

Category: Cactus and Succulents

Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping

Sun Exposure: Full Sun


Foliage Color: 

Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

Spacing:36-48 in. (90-120 cm) 4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)


USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 °C (15 °F)

USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Where to Grow:Unknown - Tell us

Danger:Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:Red Bright Yellow

Bloom Characteristics:Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:Late Spring/Early Summer

Purple Prickly Pear