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Montana Field Guide

Montana Field Guides

Brittle Pricklypear - Opuntia fragilis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 3

External Links

General Description
Stems prostrate, mat-forming; the segments subcylindric, 2–4 cm long, easily detached. Spines 3 to 8 per areole, gray, 5–20 mm long. Flowers with tepals ca. 15 mm long. Fruit tan, 1–3 cm long (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
BC to ON south to NM, TX and IL (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 177

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
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    • Aldrich, D. F. 1978. Overwintering, springtime development and migration of some Aphidea, including Myzus persicae of Northwestern Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, Montana: Montana State University. 112 p.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Brittle Pricklypear — Opuntia fragilis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from