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Opuntia microdasys forms a dense shrub 40–60 cm tall, occasionally more, composed of pad-like stems 6–15 cm long and 4–12 cm broad.
Opuntia microdasys has no spines, but instead has numerous white or yellow glochids 2–3 mm long in dense clusters; these detach very easily on being touched, and can cause considerable skin irritation, so the plants must be treated with caution. Despite this, it is a very popular cactus in cultivation.
Related species 
The very closely related Opuntia rufida differs in having reddish-brown glochids. It occurs further north in northern Mexico, and into western Texas. Some botanists treat the two as a single species.
- Species comparison gallery
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