Devilstongue Plant Information
Devilstongue grows in the following 36 states:Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia
Opuntia humifusa, commonly known as the devil's-tongue,eastern prickly pear or Indian fig, is a cactus native to parts of eastern North America.
This species ranges from the more arid areas of Montana southward to New Mexico scrub lands, and eastward to the lower Great Lakes, and the eastern seaboard from the Florida Keys to coastal Connecticut and Long Island, NY.
As is the case in other Opuntia species, the green stems of this low-growing perennial cactus are flattened, and are formed of segments. Barbed bristles are found around the surfaces of the segments, and longer spines are sometimes present. The flowers are yellow to gold in color, and are found along the margins of mature segments. The flowers are waxy and sometimes have red centers. They measure 4-6cm across. This cactus blooms in the late spring.
The juicy and edible red fruits measure from 3-5cm. As the fruit matures, it changes colour from green to red, and often remains on the cactus until the following spring. There are 6 to 33 small, flat, light-colored seeds in each fruit.
This plant is very intolerant of shade. It thrives in full sun in hot and dry environments and needs well-drained soil. Opuntia humifusa will grow in open or exposed areas in rocky and coastal scrub habits as well as at elevations where winter hardy.
Some botanists treat this cactus as a variety of Opuntia compressa: hence Opuntia compressa var. humifusa, or a synonym of Opuntia compressa. Those recognizing this species treat Opuntia rafinesquii as a junior synonym.
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