Opuntia aurea 'Coombe's Winter Glow'

Common Name: prickly-pear 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Cactaceae
Zone: 5 to 9
Height: 0.75 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 2.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: May to June
Bloom Description: Magenta
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Evergreen
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in dry, sandy, well-draining soils in full sun. Hardy in Zones 5-9.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Opuntia aurea, commonly called prickly-pear, golden prickly-pear or creeping beavertail, can be found growing in the sandy pinyon-juniper woodlands of southern Utah and northern Arizona in the southwestern United States at relatively high elevations (1500-1800'). This is a low-growing cactus with irregular, sprawling branches and thick, flattened, oval-shaped, blue-green pads. The pads (up to 6" in diameter) are mostly spineless, but may have a few small spines (less than ½" long) along their topmost edges. Bright yellow blooms appear in late spring to early summer. This species hybridizes with other prickly-pears, and the resulting offspring may have more spines or pink flowers.

Genus name comes from the Greek name for a different plant which grew around the ancient town of Opus in Greece.

The specific epithet aurea means "golden", in reference to the color of the flowers.

'Coombe's Winter Glow' is an essentially spineless cultivar with bright, magenta pink flowers. The pads turn a dark purple-grey color in winter, but green up quickly in spring.


No major pest or disease problems. Various rots may occur, particularly when plants are grown in soils with poor drainage or too much moisture.


Rock gardens, desert gardens, xeriscaping, and other dry areas of the garden with good drainage.