The Bunny cacti is native to northern Mexico and desert regions stretching into Arizona. This plant has the appearance of a shrub, and spreads out to cover between 2-5 feet of ground as a mature plant. Named for its visual appearance, the Bunny Ear Cactus, also called the Polka-Dot Cactus, has the scientific name of Opuntia microdasys. The spines come off with a simple touch, and are best removed from flesh with tweezers.
How It Looks: This cacti has no central stem or leaves. The individual segments which constitute the cactus body are oval shaped pads from which additional segments form. These new segments always grow in pairs, giving new growth areas the appearance of bunny ears. Newest segments grow in as a red color, and mature to dark green as they grow. Flowers will always sprout from the terminal ends of segment pads.
The Polka-dot Cactus covers its mature pads with closely spaced glochids, or small mounds of prickles that are designed to detach when impacted by something. Once fully formed, the glochids form on the new plant segment. The glochids are so loosely attached that a strong breeze can cause them to go airborne.
Flowering: Flowers only bud at the termination points of fully formed segments. Budding begins in late spring, and culminates in early summer with 2 inch wide blossoms. These are a creamy yellow in color, and fade to peach once fertilized. Flowers will turn into 2 inch long fruits varying from purple to red in color. Bloom encouragement is not needed.
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