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Plant Form: Upright succulent shrub or tree-like plant.
Size: Usually 2-3 m tall but up to 6 m.
Stem: Pads 10-45 cm long, mid to dark green, covered in bumps (areoles) which are wooly and have bristles. Also has a well developed trunk up to 25 cm thick covered in brownish spines 1-5 cm long.
Flowers: Yellow, with reddish stripes on outside. Up to 6 cm across.
Fruit and Seeds: Pear-shaped 4-7 cm long, green ripening to reddish-purple. Often forming chains.
Habitat: Dunes, pastures, riparian areas, woodlands, railways.
Distinguishing Features: Taller than Common pear (Opuntia stricta), more spiney than Indian fig (O. ficus-indica) and hairless, unlike Velvet tree pear (O. tomentosa).