Botanical Name: Opuntia basilaris
Common Name: Beavertail Prickly Pear Cactus  
Plant photo of: Opuntia basilaris
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Water Saving Tip:

Apply as little fertilizer as possible.

If you use fertilizer make sure it stays on the landscape, and carefully water it in so there is NO runoff.

California Native Plant
  • Anatomy

  • Culture

  • Design

Plant Type



Height Range



Flower Color

Pink, Red


Flower Season

Spring, Summer


Leaf Color

Blue Green, Grey Green


Bark Color



Fruit Color

Blue, Green


Fruit Season

Summer, Fall





Very Low


Growth Rate



Soil Type

Sandy, Loam, Rocky


Soil Condition

Poor, Well-drained, Dry


Soil pH

Neutral, Basic


Adverse Factors

Attracts Bees, Thorns/Spines

Design Styles

Mediterranean, Ranch, Spanish


Accenting Features

Showy Flowers, Unusual Foliage, Unusual Shape


Seasonal Interest

Spring, Summer


Location Uses

Perennial Border, Raised Planter, With Rocks


Special Uses

Container, Mass Planting, Fire Resistant, Naturalizing


Attracts Wildlife


Information by: George Hull MSN
Photographer: Mountain States Nursery
  • Description

  • Notes

This cactus grows 1'- 2' tall and 4' wide. Pads, which resemble Beaver tails, are blue-gray, sometimes with a bit of purple. New pads form on lower areas of the plant. Flowers are intensely rose purple from spring to early summer. This plant prefers full sun with fast draining soil. It is drought tolerant once it's established.
For Planting Instructions please refer to the Garden Resources Garden Care Section. Garden Resources can be found on the main menu.