Freely clustering succulent with miniature pads. It has no spines, but instead has numerous white hair-like glochids 2-3 mm long in dense clusters. O. microdasys may look soft and touchable, but don't!
Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)
Scientific Name: Opuntia microdasys(Lehmann) Pfeiffer
Scientific name: Mexico central and northern Mexico
Origin: Garden origin (Nursery produced cultivar)
Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 2.
Common Names include: Bunny Ears, Polka Dot Cactus
Opuntia microdasys may look soft and touchable, but don't! The cladode is protected by innumerable minutely barbed glochids that detach very easily on being touched and stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort.
Description: Freely clustering succulent with miniature pads. It forms a dense shrub, to 40-60 (occasionally more) cm high, up to1.5 m across.
Note: The very closely related Opuntia rufida differs in having reddish-brown glochids; it occurs further north in northern Mexico, and into western Texas. Some botanists treat the two as a single species.
Cultivation: They are easy to culture. Require full sun to partial shade with a well-drained soil mix. The plants are watered and allowed to dry thoroughly before watering again. During the winter months, the plants enjoy a cold place where the temperature is dropped to 5/10° C, but hardy to -5° C for short periods of time if very dry. During this period water only enough to keep the pads from shrivelling.