Opuntia macrocentra Engelm.
Long-spined prickly pear, black spine prickly pear, purple pricklypear
|Kingdom||Plantae||Plants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae|
|Subkingdom||Tracheobionta||Vascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients|
|Division||Magnoliophyta||Flowering plants, also known as angiosperms|
|Class||Magnoliopsida||Dicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves|
|Subclass||Caryophyllidae||Cacti, many other succulents, carnivorous plants, and leadworts|
|Order||Caryophyllales||Includes cacti, carnations, amaranths, ice plants, and many carnivorous plants|
|Family||Cactaceae||Succulent (water-storing) plants, often spiny|
|Species||macrocentra||From ancient Greek μακρός (makrós, “long”); and centra, “spine”|
About plant names...
The long-spined prickly pear is native to Texas, New Mexico, eastern Arizona, and northern Mexico.
Identification: Stem segments are bluish green, and pads
on more mature plants are tinged with purple. Sometimes has no spines, or groups of up to 15. Spines are up to 7" (17 cm) long! Longer spines are reddish brown to black (or rarely, yellow to red), turning whitish with age.
Flowers are yellow with red centers. See this Opuntia comparison table.
The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum Sonoran Desert Digital Library
Opuntiads of the USA
The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Bowers, Nora and Rick; Tekiela, Stan, Cactus of Arizona Field Guide, Adventure Publications Inc., 2008, p. 135.
Opuntia macrocentra description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.
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5/11/2014 · American Southwest (AZ or TX) · By Jacquelyn Boyt
5/22/2009 · Slide Rock State Park, Sedona, Arizona
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm) ID is uncertain
5/24/2009 · Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona
≈ 3½ × 2½' (1 × 0.7 m)
1/15/1996 · Living Desert, near Carlsbad Cav, New Mexico · By Constance B. Kent ID is uncertain
5/25/2009 · Boyce Thompson Arboretum, Superior, Arizona
≈ 24 × 21" (61 × 54 cm)
5/21/2009 · Grand Canyon South Rim, Arizona
≈ 31 × 22" (77 × 56 cm) ID is uncertain
About this map...