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Opuntia engelmannii Salm-Dyck ex Engelm. var. cuija Griffiths & Hare

Tuna, cactus apple

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassCaryophyllidaeCacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts
OrderCaryophyllalesIncludes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants
FamilyCactaceaeSucculent (water-storing) plants, often spiny
GenusOpuntiaPrickly pears
SpeciesengelmanniiAfter Georg(e) Engelmann (1809-1884), a German-born St. Louis physician and botanist, and prolific author on cacti, North American conifers and oaks

About plant names...

This variety of Engelmann's prickly pear, sometimes called tuna cactus, is native to North American deserts, at elevations between 1000-4500′ (304-1371 m).

Identification: 4-6′ (1.2-1.8 m) high, in clumps up to 15′ (4.6 m) wide. Thick pads are oval or rounded. Flowers are yellow to red. Fruit is barrel-shaped, with very short spines or no spines. I couldn't find significant differences between this variety and Engelmann Prickly Pear. See this Opuntia comparison table.

Online References:

as Compiled by the Master Gardeners of the University of Arizona Pima County Cooperative Extension




Britton, Nathaniel Lord, Rose, J. N., The Cactaceae: Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family, Press of Gibson Brothers, 1919, Vol. I, p. 113

Opuntia lindheimeri Engelm. var. cuija (Griffiths & Hare) L.D. Benson


Opuntia engelmannii var. cuija description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 9 Aug 2023.

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Opuntia engelmannii (tuna, cactus apple)

5/25/2009 · Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Ari­zona


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