Opuntia fragilis (Nutt.) Haw.
  • Suppl. Pl. Succ.
  • Brittle pricklypear, little pricklypear

This taxon is accepted by Cactaceae
Notes: More details could be found in The Plant List v.1.1. Originally in The Plant List v.1.0

General Description

Shrubs, low, forming mats, 2-10 cm. Stem segments easily detached when terminal, dark green, subspheric to subcylindric, to flattened and elliptic obovate, (1.5-)2-5.5 × (1-)1.5-3 cm, low tuberculate (pronounced when dried), glabrous; areoles 3-5 per diagonal row across midstem segment, oval, 3 × 2.5 mm; wool white. Spines 3-8 per areole, in most areoles spreading, gray with brown tips, straight, ± acicular, terete, the longest 8-24 mm; depressed spines at base of areoles 0-3, 1-3 mm. Glochids in crescent at adaxial margin of areole, tan to brown, inconspicuous, to 3 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow, sometimes basally red, 20-26 mm; filaments white or red; anthers yellow; style white; stigma lobes green. Fruits tan, 10-30 × 8-15 mm, dry, glabrous; areoles 12-22, distal areoles bearing 1-6 short spines. Seeds tan to gray, flattened, warped, oblong to subcircular, 5-6 mm diam.; girdle protruding 1-1.5 mm. 2n = 66.

"Prostrate or spreading, forming dense mats to 5 dm wide; joints orbicular to obovate, very turgid, 2–5 × 1–2.5 cm, easily detached; areoles crowded, commonly 3–6 mm apart, usually coarsely white-woolly, all or nearly all armed with (1–)3–7 strongly barbed spines 1.2–2.5 cm; fls yellow to greenish, 4–5 cm wide; fr fleshy and greenish to reddish when young, dry and tan at maturity, inedible, 1.2–1.5 cm; seeds discoid, with an irregular margin; 2n=66. Dry prairies and plains; Ill. and Wis. and n. Mich. to B.C., n. Tex., and Ariz. May–July."

Common Names

Brittle pricklypear, little pricklypear


 Information From

World Flora Online Data. 2017.
  • A CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
Flora of North America @ efloras.org
'Flora of North America @ eFloras (2008). Published on the Internet http://www.efloras.org/flora_page.aspx?flora_id=1 [accessed August 2016]' Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  • B Flora of North America Association
New York Botanical Garden
Descriptions of plants should be attributed to the full citation for each individual article, chapter or book that is the source for each record, which should include the authors of original publication.
  • C Content licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License
World Flora Online consortium
World Flora Online Data. 2018.
  • D CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0).
International Union for Conservation of Nature
IUCN 2016. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-2
  • E See IUCN Terms and conditions of use http://www.iucnredlist.org/info/terms-of-use