The prickly pear, Opuntia ficus-indica, has established itself in different parts of the world where it is not native. In fact, it is so widespread that its original native habitat is unknown, although it is likely native to Mexico.
Prickly pear, commonly known as Opuntia, is a genus of flowering plants in the Cactaceae (cactus) family. This plant represents 15 species of the genus Opuntia.
These perennials are often heavily branched with clearly jointed, flattened, fleshy, and sometimes rounded stem segments, known as phylloclates or cladodes.
These are also known as pads. Pads are modified stems or branches that perform various functions. The thick, green, flattened pads of the plant are covered with needle-like spikes.
Prickly pears can reach a height of 1.5 meters (5 feet) and can grow to a diameter of 4.5 meters (15 feet). The prickly pear plant has bright yellow flowers 2-3 inches in diameter. These flowers bloom from May to July.