Opuntia fragilis var. denudata


Opuntia fragilis f. denudata
Opuntia denudata


Opuntia fragilis var. denudata is native to North America, with a distribution that includes regions in Canada and the United States. It thrives in a variety of habitats, from arid deserts to rocky outcrops and grasslands. This variant is particularly adapted to survive in harsh environments with poor soil quality and extreme temperature fluctuations.


Opuntia fragilis var. denudata is a variant of the Opuntia fragilis species, part of the Cactaceae family. This variant is noted for certain distinct characteristics that differentiate it from the typical Opuntia fragilis. This cactus typically forms low, spreading clumps that can cover a significant area. The individual pads or segments of the cactus are small, often not exceeding 5-10 cm in length. These pads are more cylindrical or rounded compared to the flatter pads of typical Opuntia species. The “denudata” in its name refers to the variant’s relatively sparse covering of spines and glochids (tiny, barbed spines typical of Opuntia species), making it appear more ‘naked’ or less densely spined than other Opuntia fragilis variants. The spines, when present, are short and can range from white to tan in color. The plant’s pads are green to blue-green, with a somewhat waxy texture. In the spring and early summer, Opuntia fragilis var. denudata produces yellow flowers, about 2-3 cm in diameter. These are followed by small, dry, non-fleshy fruits that are less conspicuous than those of other prickly pears.


Cultivating Opuntia fragilis var. denudata can be rewarding due to its unique appearance and resilience. This cactus prefers full sun to partial shade and is well-suited to rock gardens or desert landscaping. Its ability to withstand cold temperatures makes it suitable for outdoor cultivation in many temperate regions. For pot cultivation, use a well-draining soil mix, such as a cactus or succulent blend. Good drainage is essential to prevent root rot. The soil should be allowed to dry out completely between waterings. In winter, when the plant is dormant, water sparingly to avoid freezing of the roots. Despite its drought tolerance, regular watering during the growing season (spring and summer) will encourage healthier growth and flowering. However, it is crucial to avoid overwatering. Fertilization is not a major requirement for Opuntia fragilis var. denudata. If desired, a balanced, low-nitrogen cactus fertilizer can be applied once in the spring to support growth. This variant is more resistant to cold than many other cacti, but it should still be protected from prolonged wet and freezing conditions, especially if grown in a container.


Propagation of Opuntia fragilis var. denudata is typically done through pad division. This involves detaching a pad from the parent plant and allowing the cut end to callous over for a few days. Once calloused, plant the pad in a well-draining soil mix. Water sparingly until the pad establishes roots and shows new growth. Seed propagation is also possible, though it tends to be slower. Seeds should be sown in a well-draining cactus mix, kept moist, and placed in a warm, bright location until germination.


A notable curiosity of Opuntia fragilis var. denudata is its remarkable cold hardiness, allowing it to survive in climates far colder than most cacti can tolerate. This makes it an exceptional species in the cactus world. Additionally, its sparse spination compared to other Opuntia species gives it a distinct, minimalist appearance, appealing to collectors and gardeners seeking a less aggressive-looking cactus.

Official Web Site:

Italian Blog:

Read our advice

Recent Posts

Start typing and press Enter to search