The Purple prickly pear cactus is a colorful species with rich plum-purple coloring on young pads. Over time it can grow 4-5 ft. tall, 4-5 ft. wide. Short bristle-like spines cover pads and fruit; bright yellow flowers contrast boldly against its purple pads from later winter into spring.
Purple prickly pear provides more foliage color than most species of Opuntia and is commonly planted as a color accent plant in Southwestern style plantings and for display in containers. It is well adapted to sun, heat, aridity and summer drought.