The Peter Rabbit of Cacti Looking for a Challenge Opuntia Microdasys

The Peter Rabbit of Cacti Looking for a Challenge Opuntia Microdasys post thumbnail image

Opuntia microdasys is a funny plant with a deceptive appearance. Its pads grow in pairs, similar to the ears of a furry rabbit. It may seem friendly and fluffy, but this cactus has extremely pointed hairs that are guaranteed to keep you on your toes.

This plant, also called rabbit-eared cactus, is originally red and turns green as it matures. The prickly “coat” is white, yellow or reddish-brown, depending on the variety. Its beautiful flowers are creamy yellow and bowl-shaped. When ripe, red or purple fruits grow.

The general maintenance of Opuntia Microdasys is quite simple, but the thorny exterior makes it an exciting gardening experience.

All about Opuntia Microdasys

This plant is sometimes called a rabbit-eared succulent, but it is a real cactus. Areolas are one of the main differences between cacti and succulents. Areoles are raised parts of the plant from which spines or glochids grow. The rabbit-eared cactus has “peas” of glochids, which are piles of thin thorns like hair. They can easily blow in the wind or stick to the skin. Always be careful with rabbit-eared cacti because of this exciting feature.

When working with cacti, gloves are essential. Nitrile-coated gloves keep hair-like tips at bay. You can also try to hold it with newspaper or silicone clips (metal clips can damage the plant). Keep a loose grip so as not to damage or injure the plant. If you get stuck with the tips, remove them with tweezers or liquid glue.

Opuntia microdasys is native to the deserts of Mexico. For this reason, it requires a dry environment that exceeds 45 °F all year round. If you live in a desert region, do not hesitate to put it in the ground! If not, plant it in a pot that you can bring inside if necessary. Of course, you can grow rabbit-eared cacti exclusively indoors, provided that they receive enough sunlight.

Types Of Opuntia-microdasys

The varieties Of Opuntia Microdasys differ little in care. The main difference is the color and shape of their glochids and pads. Here is a brief overview of the most popular species.

Opuntia rufida, ‘cinnamon rabbit ears’, ‘blind prickly pear’

This subspecies grows both in Texas and in Mexico. It can be recognized mainly by reddish-brown or cinnamon glochids. It is believed that it is larger than Opuntia microdasys, although they are very similar plants. Opuntia rufida is called “blind prickly pear” because its glochids can easily damage the eyes of animals.

Opuntia microdasys var. albispina, “angel wings”

This dense shrub has ultra fluffy white glochids. It grows like a typical microdasys Opuntia.

Opuntia microdasys var. pallida, ‘cactus with polka dots’

The Pallida variety is dotted with light yellow to golden glochids. Its flowers have a dark green center.

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