Opuntia santa-rita ‘violacea’

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Santa-Rita Prickly Pear / Violet Prickly Pear / Purple Prickly Pear

This plants habitat is Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, USA and south into Baja California, Chihuahua and Sonora, Mexico. This particular form comes from near Tucson, Arizona. This plant belongs to the chloratica group and its taxonomy is, shall we say, not very clear cut. Many names are associated with this group, chloratica, gosseliana, santa-rita, violacea and even macrocentra. Among collectors there is usually a consensus of which is which. Having seen many of these plants in habitat, there are differences among them visually and to some extent growth form. Although plants with the name santa-rita are quite variable. This violacea form has nice thick pads from 6 to 10” large that have a green/blue color and purple tones around the edges. Spines are somewhat random but mostly just on the top portion of the pads, they are stout and get about 2-3” long. This plant grows best in full sun. The pads will show many tones of purple when stressed with strong sunlight or winter cold. Hardy to 25F. This plant needs water when growing and very little to none during the dormant time. This plant produces beautiful yellow flowers. This plant is a medium height (3 to 6ft) shrubby tree-like grower.