Scientific Name: Opuntia microdasys
Common Names: Angel's-wings, Bunny Ears, Bunny-ear Prickly-pear, Polka Dot Cactus, Cinnamon Cactus
Growth Habit: Shrub, Cactus
Arizona Native Status: Introduced. This naturalized ornamental cactus is native to northern Mexico. It is commonly cultivated here and can sometimes be found growing wild near towns and cities.
Habitat: Desert, Upland
Flower Color: Yellow aging to peach
Flowering Season: Spring (April and May)
Height: Up to 3 feet (1 m) tall
Description: The flowers are up to 2 inches (5 cm) across and have broad, yellow tepals (petals and petal-like sepals), yellow anthers, and dark green stigma lobes. The flowers are followed by round to egg-shaped, red to purplish, spineless but glochid-dotted fruits. The stems are green, erect to sprawling, and segmented into numerous thin, flat, round to egg-shaped pads. The stem pads lack regular spines but are polka-dotted with yellow, white, or red-brown glochids (micro-spines) at each aureole. The flowers emerge from the top edges of the pads.
Stinging or Itching – The fuzzy looking polka dots on the plants are actually made up of tiny, very sharp spines known as glochids that can cause pain, severe irritation, and infection if embedded in the skin and can require medical attention if they get into a person's eyes, nose, mouth, or are inhaled. Because they are so tiny and fragile, glochids are difficult to remove with tweezers, but sticky tape can be used to remove them from skin.
Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Family: Cactaceae – Cactus family
Genus: Opuntia Mill. – pricklypear
Species: Opuntia microdasys (Lehm.) N.E. Pfeiffer – angel's-wings
More About This Plant