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Item ID: 39
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Opuntia
Species: engelmannii var. linguiformis
Common Name: Cow's Tongue Cactus, Cow Tongue Prickly Pear, Lengua de vaca
Habitat: The original habitat of this Opuntia is the low mesquite forested range land of south Texas just northeast of San Antonio at around 500 feet elevation.
Range: This particular Opuntia was found native to a limited area in Bexar County, Texas. First described by Griffiths in 1908. The location was documented by Del Weniger as being just south of the town of China Grove and Sayers, Texas. This particular Opuntia has been widely accepted and now grows in many areas outside the original range.
Care: Because of this plants great ability to adapt to the surroundings it should be noted that cultivation is not a concern. This cactus can grow into a nice size plant in only a few years. It requires little supplemental water but a little added water should keep it looking good and healthy. Some plants require pruning of the stems in order to keep it from spreading into other areas of the garden.
Propagation: This cactus is easily propagated by stem cuttings or by seed.
Size: Plants can reach 6 feet in height and up to 8 feet wide.
Shape: Padded/Jointed
Flowers: This Opuntia has flowers that are 2 inches wide and yellow in color.
 Image Not Available
Photo Courtesy of Vonn Watkins 2003

It is easy to see where this Opuntia got its' name. The stems have been found to grow to almost 2 feet in length and are armed with the typical yellow spines of the engelmannii species. The real "Cow Tongue" look distinguishes this plant from all other Opuntias.

Author Comments
This plant is a sprawling species and tends to spread quickly if not pruned and attended. If you have the space it will spread.

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