Saw this cactus while I was walking along the road in Whangarei which has a subtropical climate.

street cactus

It is growing over the fence into public air space so it would be legal for to take a cutting.

enter image description here

And I walked onto the property to speak with the owner but they weren't there but my phone was.

full length prickly pear


This looks like a prickly pear cactus, or Opuntia. Looking it up, it seems there are quite a few different types, and I have no idea of the exact species in your picture. Also it's hard to tell from the photo whether those yellow prickly pears are on their way to turning red like most ripe prickly pears (or "tunas" as they are also called), or if they are going to stay yellow when ripe.

Most prickly pear fruits are (supposedly) edible, as are the leaves (the pads, or Spanish "nopales"), but the spines and the irritating little hairs that accompany them are extremely treacherous if you don't know what you are doing. So be super-careful if you choose to go near one of these plants.

  • With nice large yellow flowers. Very nice plant. – Giacomo Catenazzi Mar 8 '18 at 7:07

That's an unusual growth habit. Opuntias are normally much lower to the ground, except for the very large species with very large pads. Is it possible to peek through the fence to see if it has a tree-like trunk?

Opuntias are generally very easy to root from cuttings, but as Lorel says, the spines and glochids can be very irritating at least. I use gloves, tongs and a knife to take cuttings from Opuntias. Try to find a young pad and cut it at the joint. Let it dry for a few days and plant, cut side down.

It looks well suited to the habitat!

  • Sure ... I'll walk across there during my lunchtime to take another picture! – Graham Chiu Mar 8 '18 at 16:47
  • Ok added a full image. – Graham Chiu Mar 9 '18 at 2:52
  • Very cool, thanks for adding the picture. So it does have a tree-like trunk/stem. I'm fairly certain this is a S. American species, but I'm not an Opuntia expert. I've always subscribed to the idea that if a plant is in the public right-of-way it's fair game to get cuttings. Local customs may apply. I would grab three or four young pads and root them. I've only seen plants like this in books! – Tim Nevins Mar 9 '18 at 14:22
  • Yet no one upvotes my question! – Graham Chiu Mar 9 '18 at 16:38

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