We enjoy writing about and photographing Opuntia and related plants. We enjoy studying them in the field. We hope you enjoy reading our findings. Our goal is to illustrate the various Opuntia species of the United States and to describe them as we understand them. We provide multiple photographs of each species to illustrate their similarities and differences.
We cover those species that we find in habitat. Nomenclature represents a challenge; for instance we describe some species that others treat as varieties (e.g., Opuntia lindheimeri) and vice versa. There are many species described in the older literature that we have not found and, thus, do not address.
Likely there are undescribed species in the United States. There are also species that were described but which were forgotten (e.g., O. cespitosa). These will be added as they are recognized or documented. Opuntia hybrids are occasionally found in Nature, and we do not describe those infrequently occurring plants. However, where introgression occurs, we do describe it.
Write to us. We are always happy to hear from others if there is a point we have not considered or if we have made an error. Such input will only make this Website better.
Joe J. Shaw, PhD ELS, Publisher and Senior Editor
Joe is a botanist and a plant pathologist, and he is a former associate professor of Botany. He grew up in the West and spent much time studying plants there. As publisher he builds the Website and organizes the content. Joe writes most of the Website and provides many of the photos. He works with the other editors to get photo IDs correct before publishing them online. Joe still travels throughout the West to study plants and to consult with other scientists.
David J. Ferguson, Curator Rio Grande Botanic Garden, Albuquerque, NM, Executive Editor and Senior Scientific Editor
Dave is our taxonomist, and he has the nearly impossible job of making sure photographs are correctly identified. He is also curator of the Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque, NM. Dave has many years experience exploring North and South America to study cacti and other plants. Dave is a published author of multiple books and papers about cacti including Pricklypears Commonly Found in the United States and Northern Mexico. He is also referenced in multiple cactus-related publications, e.g., “Cacti of the Trans-Pecos & Adjacent Areas” (AM Powell and JF Weedin, 2004, Texas Tech University Press).
Nancy Hussey, Editor for the Mojave Desert
Nancy has grown plants and studied them for many years; she has the difficult task of keeping tabs on the Mojave Desert and its Opuntia species. The Mojave Desert is home to some poorly documented and rare species. Additionally, Nancy has the largest Opuntia garden in northern Arizona. She grows her plants just the way Nature would, with no extra water or fertilizer. The plants look just like they do in the wild, and she provides many photographs of hard-to-find plants. Moreover, Nancy is co-discoverer of O. diploursina. Finally, Nancy is our beta tester for software, site changes, and theme updates.
Daniel A. Green, Editor for Florida
Danny is our Florida botanist and ecologist. He is responsible for identifying the many Opuntia species in that state including some that are difficult to find and some that are very poorly understood. Danny is an outdoor kind of guy and he especially enjoys locating, studying, and photographing hard-to-find plants.
The Other Stuff
Most photos were taken by the publisher or the editors, and most were taken in habitat with the goal of showing their natural state. Some plants were photographed in gardens. Some plants were photographed by others, and photographer credits are provided.
Special Photo Contributor
We accept advertisements. We earn a small amount from them ($60 in the first 8 months of 2018). Out goal is to earn enough to pay part of the costs of running this website, which costs about $300 per year to operate.
All rights are reserved. For purely, fully, strictly, and explicitly nonprofit use, we are happy to share in most cases; just write to us. Some photographs and text belong to others and they must be contacted individually to obtain permissions. All materials originally published before 1925 may be used freely as is the case with government publications.
We strive to provide accurate information, but errors may occur. We (all persons providing content, photographs, ideas, information, or commentary herein) are not responsible for any confusion, ill effects, damages, or losses resulting from use or interpretation of any materials or information herein.
We use WordPress as a content management system because it is easy (somewhat) for us to use and does not require extensive coding skills (it is mostly drag and drop). Also, we can always get help from the WordPress forums if we run into a problem. We use CloudFlare, Jet Pack, an image compression program, and other plugins that assist in smooth and fast Website operation. We have used several ISPs; currently we use HostGator and are satisfied.