Native to North America. Many varieties that have been exported to other parts of the world and have become troublesome.
Perennial that reproduces from either stems or seeds. Seeds contained in large fruit that turns bright red when mature, and is edible.
Stems are large, flattened pads that are sparsely covered with clumps of short, sharp hairs or spines. Plants to 7 feet tall and taller, and found in dense clumps.
Leaves are tiny on young plants and fall during early growth of stems. Flowers are large and showy, and the fruit is pear-shaped, starting green and turning orange or red when ripe. It contains numerous seeds, and may have some clusters of spines on it as well.
Characteristicts Important to Control:
Especially common on dry, sandy soils where it is extremely drought tolerant. Sometimes used as a fence line it can be quite a problem when it expands its range.