Opuntia chisosensis

Opuntia chisosensis
Opuntia chisosensis

(Anthony) Ferguson, Cactus and Succulent Journal (U.S.) 58(3): 124, 1986

Holotype; Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Original Description

What is Opuntia chisosensis?

Opuntia chisosensis is a prickly pear cactus that grows in the Big Bend region of Texas and adjacent Mexico where it occurs at higher elevations in wooded areas. At one time it was considered to be a variety of O. lindheimeri

Details

From Powell and Weedin: 

O. chisosensis is a medium-sized (to 1 m tall) prickly pear cactus. Ascending branches extend from a thick base. Cladodes are bluish-gray to green and circular to broadly obovate. There are 1-5 spines per areole in this Opuntia, spreading or deflexed, yellow to orange, tipped yellow (upper portion of plant), darkening with age, or dark red-brown (lower portion of plant). The spines are more or less acicular,  2 to 6 cm, terete or flattened near the base, and often curved. Spines generally occur in the upper portions of the cladodes. Glochids may partly encircle the areoles and are also in a poorly formed apical tuft.

Flowers on this Opuntia are 5-7 cm wide and yellowish or yellow-buff. The stigma is green or yellow-green above a yellow style; filaments are pale green. Pericarpel areoles are small and distant. Fruits are conspicuously small, especially when compared to other species in the Chisos Mountains.  Fruits are reddish purple, ellipsoid to spherical, barrel-shaped, approximately 40 × 45 mm, juicy,  with little tapering at the base (or not at all). Fruit areoles are spineless and clustered near the apex. Seeds are yellow to tan and approximately 4 × 3.5 mm. The protruding girdle is about 1 mm. 

Ploidy is unknown. 

Other Notes

This medium-sized prickly pear has attractive yellow spines. However, older spines may be brownish red. Overall, due to its stature and coloration it is an attractive garden plant. Moreover, it is cold-hardy due to its mountain origins. 

Opuntia fusco-atra

Opuntia sp.
Opuntia sp.

Engelman. Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 3: 297, 1856

Herbarium (as O. nemoralis/macatee); Drawing (Drawings/prints associated with USPRR reports & photographs/archival material; plate XI); Painting (Mary Emily Eaton)

Original Description

What is Opuntia fusco-atra?

Little is known about this prickly pear. It is reported to grow west of Houston, Texas. 

Details

This Opuntia is purported to have stout brown, almost black, spines on small joints. The cladodes are 5-7 cm long and the spines are 2-3 cm long. The spines may be of two sizes with the lower one 1.5 cm long. 

Flowers are yellow and about 3.5 cm in diameter. The ovary is 2.5 cm long and slender. 

Ploidy is unknown. 

Other Notes

Some botanists consider that O. fusco-atra is a form of O. nemoralis

 

 

 

Opuntia xanthoglochia

Opuntia xanthoglochia
Opuntia xanthoglochia

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 21: 166, 1910

Holotype; Painting (Mary Emily Eaton); Painting (Mary Emily Eaton)

Original Description

What is Opuntia xanthoglochia?

Opuntia xanthoglochia is a prickly pear cactus cactus found in central Texas east of Austin, although it may range into other areas.

Details

O. xanthoglochia resembles O. macrorhiza. The plant is prostrate to 20-30 cm tall. Large plants may be 1.0 m across. The cladodes are oval or obovate and may be more or less pointed at both ends or round. Cladodes may be 10 cm across and up to 12(15) cm long. Areoles are raised. O. xanthoglochia has yellowish glochids, sometimes numerous and prominent and up to 1 cm inch long.

The flowers are lemon yellow with red or brownish-red centers, about 7 cm in diameter. However, flowers are variable, sometimes with no red and other times with excess red. Other times the red is confined to the mid-rib of the tepals. Filaments are greenish, and the style and stigma are white or pale yellowish. The ovary is long and slim. 

O. xanthoglochia is diploid.

Other Notes

O. xanthoglochia may be considered a diploid form of O. macrorhiza s.l. 

See more about the ploidy of O. xanthoglochia.

Opuntia tardospina

Opuntia tardospina
Opuntia tardospina

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 22: 34, 1911

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Photograph (top photo); Photograph; Painting

Original Description

What is Opuntia tardospina?

Opuntia tardospina is a large prickly pear cactus first reported from the Lampasas, Texas region. Griffiths reported that this Opuntia was an unusual cactus for several reasons, not the least of which were the prominent areoles.

Details

Cladodes are green or bluish-green and up to 24 by 30 cm, subcircular to obovate. Though spines are mostly absent, some yellow ones do occur that recurve or slope downwards. Under garden conditions, spines may be frequent. The glochids are numerous and prominent, up to 12 to 15 mm-long, sometimes even on pads of the current year. Areoles are prominent, up to 1 cm across in old growth and raised by 2 to 4 mm. Finally, the prominent glochids can cover old stems as in the case of O. chlorotica santa-rita

Flowers are yellow and fruit is broadly obovate to pyriform, with areoles about 15 mm apart. 

Ploidy is unknown.

Other Notes

O. tardospina differs from O. aciculata in several ways. The pads are bluer and thicker, and the trunks have glochids. The plants in these photos have curved leaves on the ovaries, which is a feature of O. cacanapa

O. tardospina is essentially never reported. Likely this is due to the tendency to interpret any large Texas Opuntia as O. lindheimeri

 

 

Opuntia nemoralis

Opuntia nemoralis
Opuntia nemoralis

Griffiths, Monatsschrift fur Kakteenkunde 23: 133, 1913

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium (with O. cespitosa); Herbarium; Herbarium (with O. cespitosa); Herbarium (with O. cespitosa); Herbarium; Herbarium

Joe Shaw and Barry Snow

Original Description

What is Opuntia nemoralis?

Opuntia nemoralis is a southern Midwest prickly pear that occurs in saline prairies, sandhills, and shale outcrops in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas.

Details

Plants may sprawl to 1 m across and reach 30 cm tall sometimes forming clumps. The cladodes are ovate to obovate and thick, 7-9 cm long. Cladodes may be green or with purple blotches surrounding the areoles. There are 1-2 spines in the distal areoles, perhaps 2-2.5 cm long. Older cladodes are wrinkled.  

Flowers are yellow with relatively few tepals. The fruit is about 17 mm thick and 32 mm long, pyriform or obovoid and truncate, light red. Fruit pulp is slightly reddened. 

O. nemoralis is tetraploid.

Other Notes

Plants observed north of Lake Ouachita in Arkansas were glaucous/pruinose, especially in winter. Plants near Longview, Texas had purple areoles that were striking. 

Plants from Hot Spring County, Arkansas were in xeric, fractured, flakey, acidic shale bedrock along highway 81 near Interstate 30. A Cladonia sp. (lichen) was abundant. Other habitat-associate plants included Andropogon scoparius, Croton wildenowii, Polygonum tenue, Grindelia lanceolata, and Eriogonum longifolium. 

O. nemoralis is uncommonly encountered. This prickly pear has erroneously been conflated with O. humifusa, but it is different from O. humifusa although it is a member of that clade. 

Opuntia gomei

Opuntia gomei
Opuntia gomei

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 21: 167, 1910

Holotype; Holotype (O. laxiflora); IsotypeIsotype (O. laxiflora); Herbarium (submitted as O. lindheimeri); Herbarium (O. cyanella); Herbarium (O. gilvoalba); Photograph (O. gilvoalba); Herbarium; O. gomei (painting); O. gomei (painting, O. laxiflora)

Original Description

What is Opuntia gomei?

Opuntia gomei is a common prickly pear near the Rio Grande River delta, but it may occur inland somewhat on the South Texas Plains. Britton and Rose conflated it with O. lindheimeri, but it is a distinct stand-alone species and intermediates are not found. 

Details

O. gomei may form large shrubs 1-1.5 m tall and up to 3 m across. Major branches of this opuntia often rest upon the ground and other branches arise from them. Old, large cacti often contain dead material in the centers. Large cladodes may be roundish and 40 to 60 cm (or more) in diameter. The largish pads are often scalloped. The yellow spines are erect and divergent. The spines are 2-4(5) cm long, and there are often 2-4(5) spines per areole, which are stout, straight, and not curved. Glochids are abundant and prominent in this opuntia, up to 1 cm. The glochids may fill the entire areole as is the case with O. lindheimeri.  

The flowers are yellow, but red flowers have been reported. The stigma is large and bright deep-green. The fruits are reddish purple.

Ploidy is unknown. 

Other Notes

O. gomei appears to by synonymous with O. gilvoalba, O. laxiflora, and O. cyanella. 

Young plants are handsome and the yellow spines make a focal point for any garden. However, O. gomei is a large plant and is not suitable for smaller gardens. It may be hardy to 10F. 

Because it is found in the Rio Grande River delta on slight elevations, it is proposed the species may be able to tolerate salts and occasional flooding. 

Opuntia strigil

Opuntia strigil
Opuntia strigil

Engelmann, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 3: 290, 1856

Isolectotype; Isolectotype; Isolectotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

 Original Description

What is Opuntia strigil?

Opuntia strigil is a prickly pear cactus in west Texas, mostly west of the Pecos River and apparently not entering NM. The Opuntia grows on limestone hills from 2500 to 4500 ft, but also on creosote flats in the Texas trans-Pecos area.

Details

The plants are distinctive in habit, forming sturdy shrubs to nearly 100 cm tall and perhaps as wide composed of nearly circular cladodes. There are 5-8(10) spines per areole with many deflexed but some nearly erect. Centrals on this Opuntia may be 1 to 3 cm long.

Flowers are cream-yellow, but tepals may be orangish in the backside midveins. he anthers are pale. The style is pale cream and stigma lobes are greenish yellow. Fruits are red and nearly spherical.

Opuntia strigil is diploid.

Other Notes

The Flora of North America online reports, “Opuntia strigil is reminiscent of a [small] brown-spined form of O. chlorotica chlorotica.”

O. strigil is a handsome garden plant, though it may become large in time. 

Opuntia spinosibacca

Opuntia spinosibacca
Opuntia spinosibacca

Anthony, American Midland Naturalist 55: 246. 1956

Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Original  Description

What is Opuntia spinosibacca?

Opuntia spinosibacca is prickly pear cactus found only in the Big Bend region of Texas and in adjacent Mexico. It is often found on hot limestone substrates. It is a large cactus, to 4-ft tall and 5-ft wide, some times with a very short trunk (5 to 8 cm tall) that may be 10-15 cm in diameter.

Details

The cladodes are generally obovate and 10 to 18 cm long and 8 to 15 cm wide. There are 2 to 5 spines in almost all areoles. Mature spines are reddish-orange or even chestnut red; the longest spines are 5 to 10 cm long. Spines age to gray.

From Powell and Weedin:

The plants of O. spinosibacca are upright, compact shrubs to 1- to 1.5-m tall…The pads are light green to yellowish-green [but sometimes appearing bluish] with spines in areoles across most of the pad except near the base. A purple blotch near each areole is often present. Sometimes, a low spreading variant of O. spinosibacca may be confused with a tall plant of O. camanchica.

The cladodes are light green with reddish-brown spines in most areoles, which are elevated and conspicuous. The pads may be relatively small for such a large shrub. Four to eight spines, 2-4 cm long, are present in upper areoles. 

Flowers are bright and orange-yellow or golden-yellow, 5 to 7.5 cm wide and 5 to 7 cm long. The bases of the inner tepals are often red or orange. The red coloring may fade to pale pink with age. The filaments are pale green or cream. The style is white or pinkish and up to 2.2 cm long. The stigma is pale green to cream. The pericarpel has glochids and bristles with spines near the apex. 

O. spinosibacca is tetraploid.

Other Notes

The taxon is proposed by some botanists to be an Opuntia species created through the natural hybridization of O. aureispina (a diploid species) and O. phaeacantha (a hexaploid species). Hybridization attributed to O. phaeacantha might actually mean O. dulcis, O. camanchica, or some other not-too-large Opuntia. Irrespective of its ancient origins, the taxon is self-reproducing and is considered a discrete species of prickly pear herein. 

This prickly pear is a superb plant in larger gardens because of its unique and attractive coloration and its stout look. Mature plants are best in larger gardens. 

Opuntia sanguinicola

Opuntia sanguinicola
Opuntia sanguinicola

Griffiths, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 27: 26, 1914

Isotype; Herbarium

Original Description

What is Opuntia Sanguinicola?

O. sanguinicola is a Texas prickly pear cactus that prefers deep soils (limestone-derived) as opposed to the rocky soils preferred by O. gilvescens or other possibly related opuntias. 

Details

Plants may be 20 to 40 cm tall and spread to 1 m. Spines are often restricted to the sides and upper 1/4 of cladodes. Areoles have 0-2(3) spines, mostly less than 2.5 cm in length. The smaller spine may sweep downwards towards last years growth. Spine color varies with older spines being gray or gray at the tips and brown at the base, and newer spines are yellow changing to red-brown at the base. A few plants have darker spines. Cladodes vary in size, perhaps 8 by 11 cm or even 9 by 20 cm, being obovate or sometimes subcircular. Cladodes may be violet-green in winter. Leaves are relatively large at 10 to 12 mm. Glochids are reddish when new but are gray, tan, or white-gray with age. They are distributed in a distinct pattern–as a compact tuft in the center of the areole (unusual distribution). 

The flowers are bright yellow with deep red centers. The filaments are yellowish or greenish, and the stigma is white. Flowers of this Opuntia are 6 to 7 cm in diameter. 

Ploidy is unknown. 

Other Details

O. sanguinicola is yet another yellow-flowered Opuntia overlooked by most and, if seen, assumed to be O. phaeacantha because the two are of similar size. Plants are not uncommon in central Texas, but are difficult to find in tall grass grass. 

This Opuntia is grown in some Texas gardens where it is appreciated for its bright flowers. It flowers well at a small size. 

Opuntia rufida

Opuntia rufida
Opuntia rufida

Engelmann, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 3: 298, 1856

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Original Description

What is Opuntia rufida?

Opuntia rufida is a large, spineless prickly pear cactus that occurs in the Big Bend area of Texas and south into the greater Chihuahuan Desert of Mexico.

Details

O. rufida is a much-branched cactus that may reach 1 to 1.5 m and a bit wider. The plant generally has a short trunk, and pads are subcircular, obovate, or elliptical, 8 to 25 cm across. The pads are thickish and tomentose. Areoles spineless but are conspicuous with tufts or red-brown glochids. 

The flowers are yellow to orange and 4 to 5 cm long including the ovary. The filaments are greenish white and the style is 1.5 cm long and bulbous above the base. The fruit of this Opuntia is bright red, umbilicate and globular. 

O. rufida is diploid.

Other Notes

Britton and Rose reported that this species is less common than, and is sometimes confused with, O. microdaysys, another spineless prickly pear sympatric with O. rufida in Mexico. However, the glochids of O. microdasys are generally pale. Also, unlike O. microdasys, O. rufida has reniform to circular cladodes. Moreover, O. microdasys is typically a shorter plant. 

Though the flowers of this Opuntia are not especially memorable, O. rufida is statuesque and unique in appearance. It would be a spectacular garden plant except for the profusion of glochids. This prickly pear sheds its glochids with abandon and they are a menace to any gardener. Weather true or not its glochids have the reputation of detaching and flying on the wind. Flying glochids are purported to blind animals, hence the name, blind prickly pear.