Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri “Texas Pricklypear”

The Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri “Texas Pricklypear” is a highly recognizable cactus has broad, flat pads covered in sharp pines. 

It is evergreen, and can grow tall. 

The pads are blue-green and grow from a trunk. 

As it grows, it can spread out. Watch for yellow flowers that bear a purple fruit in the Spring.

The Opuntia engelmannii range extends from California to Louisiana in the United States, and from Sonora (state) to the Tamaulipan matorral in Chihuahua (state), in Mexico.

In the Sonoran Desert, terminal pads face predominantly east-west, to maximize the absorption of solar radiation during summer rains. 

Although found occasionally in the Mojave Desert, it tends to be replaced by Opuntia basilaris, which does not need the summer rain.

The overall form of Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri is generally shrubby, with dense clumps up to 3.5 meters (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.

The glochids are yellow initially, then brown with age. 

Spines are extremely variable, with anywhere from 1-8 per areole, and often absent from lower areoles; they are yellow to white, slightly flattened, and 1–6 cm long.

The flowers are yellow, occasionally reddish, 5–8 cm in diameter and about as long. 

Flowering is in April and May, with each bloom lasting only one day, opening at about 8AM and closing 8 hours later.

Pollinators include solitary bees, such as the Antophoridae, and sap beetles.

Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri “Texas Pricklypear” is an excellent cacti to plant in your outdoor succulent garden. 

It is resistant to deer, and its flowers provide nectar for bees and hummingbirds.

Tips to take care of the Opuntia engelmannii var lindheimeri “Texas Pricklypear”

Illumination

It requires being in full sunlight. 

Hang the pot or basket in the sunniest window available. 

If possible, hang up the outdoor plant in summer to give fresh air and extra light.

It is recommended to use a good mixture of draining soil that is sandy, sold and used for cacti and succulents.

Temperature

During the period of active growth, normal room temperatures are adequate. In winter, these plants they should rest at a temperature of 7 to 10 ° C (45 to 50 ° F) if possible, but tolerate temperatures up to

15 to 16 ° C (59 to 61 ° F).

Irrigation

During the period of active water growth, abundantly keeping the potting mixture completely moist, but don’t let the plants stand in a lot of water. 

During the winter rest period, prevent the mixture from drying out.

Fertilization

use a medium concentration liquid fertilizer sprayed on the plant stems once every 2 weeks only during the period of active growth. During winter rest, do not apply fertilizer.

Propagation

To spread, use a 15 cm (6 inch) tip or a 15 cm segment of any part of the stem.

Allow each cut or segment to dry for three days. Then, insert it at a depth of approximately 2 cm (0.8 inches) in a small saucepan or pot of the recommended mixture for mature plants.

Make sure any segment of the stem is planted with the bottom end facing down.

If this superficially inserted cut tends to fall, it can be supported by gently tying it to a small wooden stick.

The cultivation needs of the cuttings are the same as those of mature rat tail cacti and rooting It will occur in a few weeks.

It can also be grown from seeds.

Plagues and diseases

It is subject to attack by parasites such as the red spider and scale insects. But this cactus is usually disease-free.

History  

The species of this plant is named for George Engelmann (1809-1884) who was born in Germany and settled in St. Louis, Missouri, as a young man.

He was a physician and botanist, describing especially North American Abies (Firs), Agaves, Cactus (for which he described more than 108 species), Cuscuta (Dodder), Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family), Juncus (Rushes), Juniperus (“Cedar”), Pinus (Pines), Vitis (Grapes), and Yuccas. 

When he died much of his collection went to Missouri Botanical Garden.

This variety is named after Ferdinand Jacob Lindheimer (1801-1879) who is often called the Father of Texas Botany because of his work as the first permanent-resident plant collector in Texas. 

In 1834 Lindheimer immigrated to the United States as a political refugee.

He spent from 1843-1852 collecting specimens in Texas. 

In 1844 he settled in New Braunfels, Texas, and was granted land on the banks of the Comal River, where he continued his plant collecting and attempted to establish a botanical garden. 

He shared his findings with many others who shared his interest in botany, including Ferdinand von Roemer and Adolph Scheele. 

Lindheimer is credited with the discovery of several hundred plant species. 

In addition his name is used to designate forty-eight species and subspecies of plants. 

He is buried in New Braunfels. His house, on Comal Street in New Braunfels, is now a museum.