Santa Rita is found in the specimen beds between the café and the solar field among a variety of other Opuntias. This species grows in mounds and doesn’t form a central stem that some other of the genus will. Santa Rita’s pad is very round, rather than obovate (egg-shaped), and is a blend of gray-green and violet-purple.
The cup-shaped flowers have a red base that turn yellow moving up the petal. Its bloom is followed by spineless, purplish-red fruit.
Distribution of Santa Rita is southeastern Arizona, southern New Mexico, western Texas, and northern Sonora, Mexico.