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Care of the plant Opuntia linguiformis or Cow's Tongue Prickly Pear Cactus.

Care of the cactus Opuntia linguiformis or Cow's Tongue Prickly Pear Cactus

The genus Opuntia, family Cactaceae, includes some 300 species of cacti native to Mexico, the USA and Central and South America. Some species are: Opuntia linguiformis, Opuntia leucotricha, Opuntia engelmannii, Opuntia bergeriana, Opuntia santa-rita, Opuntia rufida, Opuntia robusta, Opuntia microdasys, Opuntia ficus-indica, Opuntia lindheimeri, Opuntia durangensis, Opuntia subulata, Opuntia polyacantha, Opuntia atrispina, Opuntia auberi, Opuntia valida, Opuntia macrocentra, Opuntia chlorotica, Opuntia vestita, Opuntia spinulifera.

Common name: Cow's Tongue Prickly Pear Cactus. Scientific synonyms: Opuntia engelmannii var. linguiformis, Opuntia lindheimeri var. linguiformis. This species is native to central Mexico.

They are branched cacti with a bushy bearing that reach 1 meter (3.28 feet) in height. They have bluish-green or light green segments and are elongated, broad at the base and narrow at the tip. The areolas are brown and the glochids are yellow. The spines are few (1 to 4), thin and yellow in color. They have rudimentary leaves 6 mm (0.23") long. The flowers are 8 cm (3.14") in diameter and are yellow or orange. They bloom in summer.

They are used in bushy clumps, on sunny, dry slopes, in cactus and succulent gardens, and in pots and planters.

Opuntia linguiformis can grow in full sun or light shade exposure and in hot, dry climates. The winter safety temperature is 3 ºC (37.4 ºF).

The soil can be a mixture, in the same proportions, of leaf mulch and coarse sand. In pots, use a commercial cactus substrate.

Water frequently in spring and summer, waiting for the substrate to dry (twice a week in summer). Do not water in winter.

Fertilize with mineral cactus fertilizer once in spring and once in winter.

Pruning is not necessary but damaged segments can be removed in early spring.

They do not present serious pest and disease problems if there is not excess moisture.

They are easily propagated from segment cuttings rooted in slightly damp sandy substrate.

Images of the cactus Opuntia linguiformis or Cow's Tongue Prickly Pear Cactus

Opuntia linguiformis
Opuntia linguiformis
Opuntia linguiformis
Opuntia linguiformis