Opuntia chisosensis

Opuntia chisosensis
Opuntia chisosensis

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

Holotype; Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

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.

 

Details

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 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. 

Read a technical description of O. chisosensis at the Flora of North America online. More information about this prickly pear can be found in Weedin and Powell (2004). O. chisosensis is diploid.

Its attractive yellow spines and make this an attractive garden plant. Additionally 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)

See the original description.

 

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)

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, and the cactus has been conflated with that species. The plant is prostrate to 8- to 12-inches tall. Large plants may be 3-ft across. The cladodes are oval or obovate and may be more or less pointed at both ends or round. Cladodes may be 4-inches across and up to 5(6)-inches long. O. xanthoglochia has yellowish glochids, sometimes numerous and prominent and up to 3/8-inch long.

The flowers are yellow with a red centers.

See the original description. Unlike O. macrorhiza, O. xanthoglochia is diploid.

See the scientific paper.

Opuntia tardospina

Opuntia tardospina
Opuntia tardospina

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

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Photograph (top photo, Britton and Rose, 1919, v1); Photograph (Britton and Rose, 1919, v1); Painting

What is Opuntia tardospina?

Opuntia tardospina is a large prickly pear cactus first reported from the Lampasas, TX 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. 

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. See the original description.

 

 

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

by Joe Shaw and Barry Snow

What is Opuntia nemoralis?

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

Details

Plants observed north of Lake Ouachita in Arkansas were glaucous/pruinose, especially in winter, whereas plants near Longview, Texas had purple areoles that were striking. Plants may sprawl to 1 m across and reach 30 cm tall. The cladodes are ovate to obovate, 4.5 cm wide by 9 cm long or smaller. Older cladodes are wrinkled. Glochids are yellow. 

Flowers are yellow with relatively few tepals. The fruit is small, about 17 mm thick and 32 mm long. Fruit pulp is slightly reddened. 

O. nemoralis is uncommonly encountered. O. nemoralis has been erroneously conflated with O. humifusa. It is different from O. humifusa although it is a member of that clade. See the original description. O. nemoralis is tetraploid.

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)

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.

Details

O. gomei may form large shrubs 1 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 by 40 to 60 cm (or more) in diameter. The cactus spines are erect and divergent. The largish pads are often scalloped. The yellow 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.

Opuntia ‘Old Mexico’ is possibly a cultivar of O. gomei

See the original description.

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

What is Opuntia strigil?

Opuntia strigil is a prickly pear cactus in west TX, 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 perhaps as wide composed of nearly circular cladodes. There are 5 to 8(10) spines per areole with many deflexed but some nearly erect. Centrals on this Opuntia may be 1 to 3 cm long.

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

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

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

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. 

The taxon is proposed 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. See the original  description. O. spinosibacca is probably tetraploid.

This prickly pear is a superb plant in larger gardens because of its unique coloration and its stout tree- shrub-like 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

What is Opuntia Sanguinicola?

O. sanguinicola is a distinct 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.

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. See the original description.

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 TX, 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

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. 

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. Also, O. microdasys may be a shorter plant. See the original description. O. rufida is diploid.

Though the flowers of this Opuntia are not especially memorable, O. rufida is statuesque; 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 garden. Weather true or not its glochids have the reputation of detaching and flying the wind. They are purported to blind animals, hence the name, blind prickly pear.