Cows Tongue Prickly Pear
Opuntia engelmannii var linguiformis
1 gallon; 5 gallon
A hardy cactus, Opuntia engelmannii var. linguiformis, also known as the cow's tongue prickly pear, is native to the northern parts of Coahuila, Mexico, southern Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona.
It is a shrubby or tree-like cactus with 2 foot long lance-shaped pads. But they can grow up to 4 feet long and 7 inches wide! The pads are wide at the base and become thinner towards the tip resembling a cow's tongue. The cactus can reach up to 6 feet high and 10 feet wide and is protected by clusters of short yellow spines. In the spring the cactus produces yellow flowers.
Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information
The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others!
Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.
Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.