Cow’s Tongue Cactus

Cow's Tongue CactusCow’s Tongue Pricklypear

Cow’s Tongue Cactus, Lengua de Vaca

Opuntia lindheimeri Engelm. var. linguiformis (Griffiths) L. Benson

Whole plant

Family : Cactaceae

Longevity : Perennial

Origin : Native

Season : Cool

Cow’s Tongue Cactus ranges from three to five feet in height. The joints are bluish-green when young and turn yellow to brown with age. They are damaged by insects frequently, however they do regrow from broken pads. The yellow flower is about 3 inches in diameter and blooms from April to June. The reddish-purple, pear-shaped fruit, or tuna, is 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches long and covered with small spines. Cow’s Tongue Cactus fruit is eaten by many birds and small mammals, including coyotes. The joints are made edible for livestock by burning the spines off and it is readily eaten in times of drought by many animals.

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