Roadkill cactus

Yes, that is its actual name. Whoever named it certainly had a sense of humor. It’s called roadkill cactus because the pads are so flat that it looks like they’ve been run over by a car.

I had never seen a roadkill cactus before, but when I spotted this one at Lowe’s a couple of weeks ago, I had to have it. There are actually two plants in the pot, and they do look a bit like cardboard cutouts of a cactus drawn by a child.

The current Latin name of this cactus is Consolea rubescens. From its former name, Opuntia rubescens, you can tell that it is related to the prickly pears of the American Southwest. Roadkill cactus is native to Florida and the Caribbean and can take more water than its desert-dwelling cousins. The downside is that it’s much less cold hardy (zone 9b) than the prickly pears but I think that mine will be fine in its spot on the front porch.

I just love my roadkill cactus!

Roadkill cactus (Consolea rubescens) after I repotted it. It’s currently 18 inches tall (not counting the pot) but it has the potential to grow to 10 feet. I wonder how long I will be able to keep it in a container?
The marks on the pads resemble tire tracks left by a car
In this photo…
…and in this one you can see how flat the pads are


  1. That is the flattest plant I've ever seen. The first photo looks like a normal 3D cactus, but those last shots... wow. :-)

  2. Alan, that was one of the reasons why I had to have it :-)

  3. Sure it isn't something the girls cut out of cardboard and painted? ;*)

  4. Replies
    1. Wrap it with a thick layer of newspaper so the glochids don't get on your hands. Then it's easier to handle as you report it.


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