D. Griffiths, Annual report Missouri Botanical Garden 21: 172-173, t 26, lower f, 1910
Opuntia atrispina is an early flowering species of Texas and adjacent Mexico. Plants in bloom occur in April near Del Rio, Texas (Hwy 90, north of town). The flowers are distinctive because they open pale- or dark-yellow and change to salmon, pink, red, or even tan-pink. Thus, single plants wear flowers of two cheerful colors. Newly opened flowers can have a hint of green in the center. Stigmas are creamy-white. Briton and Rose reported that the plants can be over half a meter tall and up to 2 meters wide. See the original citation. (Read more below the images.)
The round spines are unique because they are a distinctive rich dark-brown or black-brown at their bases and light tan or yellow on the upper half; this two-tone coloring provides a distinctive look. Cladodes are green and 3(4) inches wide by 6(7) inches long–egg shaped or oval. Plants are about 12-24(30) inches tall and 2-3 feet across, densely branched, and have shiny surfaces.
The distribution of the species is limited in the United States, extending from west of Uvalde, Texas to near Langtry, Texas. The Flora of North America provides a distribution map.