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Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)

General: Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) is a cactus with broad, flat pads that grows upright and tree-like with a large "trunk" and branches of pricklypear pads. The pads are nearly round and the spines are stout.

Pancake Pricklypear is a fairly common component of vegetation communities in southern-most Nevada on well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas, canyons, and moderate slopes into the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zone.

Around Las Vegas, Pancake Pricklypear can be seen most easily in the Mojave National Preserve. The hillsides along Cedar Canyon Road between Cima-Kelso Road and the intersection with Black Canyon Road, and the hillsides along Black Canyon Road are good places to see them. In Nevada, this species is fairly common at the southern tip of the state, at least from the South McCullough Wilderness Area southward, and there a few near White Rock Spring and on the Calico Hills at Red Rock Canyon NCA.

Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
One of the few Pancake Pricklypear at Red Rocks.

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae).

Other Names:

Plant Form: Upright, like a short tree.

Height: To about 6-feet tall.

Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)

Trunk: Present (absent in other pricklypear), usually about 2-feet tall; thick, covered with spines.

Stems: Entire (many); flat and broad (pancake shaped); 5 to 8-inches across, generally round.

Stem Surface: Smooth.

Spines: 3 to 8 spines, sometimes absent on lower part of pad; 1 to 2-inches long, straight, flat, yellowish.

Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)

Glochids: Present.

Flowers: Blooms late spring to early summer. Inflorescence: solitary from top edge of pads. Flowers: yellow, 1-2 inches across.

Fruit: Juicy, to about 1-1/2 inches long, purple-red; guarded by 40 to 70 areoles.

Seeds: Many, small (about 3 mm).

Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas and moderate slopes in the lower mountains.

Distribution: Southern California deserts to New Mexico, and south into northern Mexico.

Elevation: 2,000 to 4,300 feet.

Comments: Hybridizes with Tulip Pricklypear (Opuntia phaeacantha).

Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Stout stems
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Broad pads
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Flower and flower buds
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Pancake Pricklypear flower
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Unripe fruits
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica)
Unripe fruits
Pancake Pricklypear (Opuntia chlorotica) more to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
© 2014 Jim Boone; Last updated 140424

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