Opuntia stricta


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Opuntia stricta
Species Authority: (Haw.) Haw.
Common Name(s):
English Erect Pricklypear
Spanish Nopal Estricto
Cactus strictus Haw.
Taxonomic Notes: This species was previous listed as O. dillenii.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-04-28
Assessor(s): Durán, R., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Hernández, H.M., Tapia, J.L., Terrazas, T. & Loaiza, C.
Reviewer(s): Superina, M. & Goettsch, B.K.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Abba, A.M. & Goettsch, B.K.
Opuntia stricta is listed as Least Concern because it is widespread, common, has no major threats, and is found in many protected areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is widespread, occurring in the Bahamas, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador (Guayas and Manabí provinces), Jamaica, Lesser Antilles, Mexico, Netherland Antilles, United States, US Virgin Islands, and Venezuela (Hunt et al. 2006). It is generally found close to sea level, but there are some records from higher elevations, up to 1,000 m, in Querétaro, Mexico.In Mexico, this species occurs in the states of Campeche, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Veracruz, and Yucatán (Hunt et al. 2006). Records from Oaxaca and Tamaulipas require verification. In the United States, O. stricta occurs in the states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas (Hunt et al. 2006). In Brazil it can be found in the states of Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, and Bahia (Taylor and Zappi 2004).  It is introduced and invasive in Europe, Africa, and Australia.

The species is thought to be introduced in Ecuador (N.P. Taylor pers. comm. 2011).
Bahamas; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (Saba, Sint Eustatius); Brazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Sergipe); Cayman Islands; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; Jamaica; Mexico (Campeche, Querétaro, Quintana Roo, Tabasco, Veracruz, Yucatán); Saint Martin (French part); Sint Maarten (Dutch part); United States (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas); Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, U.S.
Australia; South Africa
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: This species is very common and abundant.
Population Trend: Increasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: This species occurs on coastal dunes and tropical dry forest. It adapts well to modified and degraded habitats in areas near sea level.
Systems: Terrestrial

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: In Cuba this cactus is used for food, medicine, colouring, as an ornamental and in living fences (Fuentes 2005). The fruit is eaten and used to make liquor in Veracruz. Experiments are being carried out to test whether this species could be used to prevent erosion of coastal dunes.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to this species. A potential threat to species of the genus Opuntia is the invasion of the cactus moth Cactoblastis cactorum, which can completely extirpate populations (Zimmermann et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is found in many protected areas.

Citation: Durán, R., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Hernández, H.M., Tapia, J.L., Terrazas, T. & Loaiza, C. 2013. Opuntia stricta. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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