Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa

Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa

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Scientific Name

Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa

Accepted Scientific Name

Austrocylindropuntia subulata (Muehlenpf.) Backeb.

Common Names

Christmas Tree Cactus, Eve's Needle, Eve's Needle Cactus


Cylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa, Opuntia subulata f. monstrosa, Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrose, Opuntia subulata f. monstrose

Scientific Classification

Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Opuntioideae
Tribe: Austrocylindropuntieae
Genus: Austrocylindropuntia


Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa is a large tree-like cactus with cylindrical joints that grow up to 1.6 feet (50 cm) long and up to 2 inches (5 cm) in diameter. The plant grows up to 13 feet (4 m) tall. Leaves are green, nearly cylindrical, and up to 2 inches (5 cm) long. Spines are light yellow and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long. Flowers are red and up to 2.5 inches (6.2 cm) long.


USDA hardiness zones 9a to 11b: from 20 °F (−6.7 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Though the large variety of species within the Opuntia genus means different types of prickly pears may need slightly different care, all are desert cacti that need lots of sun, lots of light, and very little water. If you live in a hot, arid area, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.

As desert cacti, Prickly Pears require maximum sunlight to thrive and should be kept in direct sunlight whenever possible. Very little water is required. These drought-resistant plants grow best in hot, dry areas, and excessive water could cause them to rot. Hot temperatures are best, but these cacti will tolerate a very wide range of temperatures. The most important soil requirement for Opuntia is that it drains well. Other than that, a basic potting soil is fine, and these cacti will grow in rock gardens, as well.

Though Opuntia will grow just fine in a garden, they can be grown in pots as well. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the prickly pear in a new pot and backfill it with potting soil. As with a new cutting, make sure not to water a newly repotting prickly pear for a brief period to avoid rotting its roots. See more at How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.


Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa is a monstrose form of Austrocylindropuntia subulata.


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Austrocylindropuntia Species, Eve's Needle, Christmas Tree Cactus

Family: Cactaceae (kak-TAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Austrocylindropuntia (oss-troh-sil-in-droh-PUN-tee-uh) (Info)
Species: subulata f. monstrosa
Additional cultivar information:(aka Monstrosa)
Synonym:Cylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa
Synonym:Opuntia subulata f. monstrosa
Synonym:Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrose
Synonym:Opuntia subulata f. monstrose


Water Requirements:

Drought-tolerant suitable for xeriscaping

Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater

Sun Exposure:


Foliage Color:




USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 °C (20 °F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual


Plant has spines or sharp edges use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:

Bloom Characteristics:

Bloom Size:

Bloom Time:

Other details:

Soil pH requirements:

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:

Allow cut surface to callous over before planting

From seed direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Allow unblemished fruit to ripen clean and dry seeds

Unblemished fruit must be significantly overripe before harvesting seed clean and dry seeds

Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa - garden

Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa

Other names

Christmas tree cactus, Eve's needle , Eve's needle cactus, Cylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa, Opuntia subulata f. monstrosa, Opuntia subulata f. monstrose, Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrose, Austrocylindropuntia subulata 'Monstrosa', Opuntia exaltata var. monstrose



A. subulata f. monstrosa - A. subulata f. monstrosa is a tender, tree-like, perennial cactus with thick, fleshy, cylindrical, unsegmented, mid- to dark green stems bearing fleshy, semi-cylindrical, pointed, evergreen leaves turning red to pink in cold temperatures. Cup-shaped, red flowers in spring and summer are followed by oblong, spineless, red fruit.

Austrocylindropuntia subulata f. monstrosa is: Evergreen



Plant has spines that cause severe irritation to the skin & are difficult to remove. Handle plants with folded newspaper or with thick gloves.


Red in Spring Red in Summer


Flushed red in Winter Green in All seasons

Watch the video: Planting Opuntia Pads


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