Opuntia lubrica

Opuntia lubrica
Opuntia lubrica

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 21: 169, 1910

Herbarium; Drawing (Britton and Rose, v1 1919, fig 174); Painting; Painting

What is Opuntia lubrica?

Opuntia lubrica is a prickly pear cactus that has some similarity to O. rufida. However, O. lubrica has shiny pads that are not pubescent as in the other cactus.

Details

Cladodes of the current year may be nearly circular or obovate and 15 cm inches wide by approximately 20 cm long.  This prickly pear has tight, dense clumps of prominent but short glochids (4-5 mm), yellow to dark rust red, in a crescent adaxially. Glochids can increase in number and length on older stems and may eventually populate the entirety of areoles rather than remaining in a cresent.  Sometimes there are a few spines or many (same color as the glochids), but often the plants are spineless. If spines are present they can increase with age to over  a dozen per areole. Spines may be 12 mm long or longer. 

The flowers are bright yellow, typically a little greenish in the center, sometimes developing a brassy or slightly orange hue as they age.  Fruit is often bright red with a green rind and red pulp. Fruit is juicy with lots of areoles and short glochids (much like those of O. rufida and O. microdasys, but larger). Seeds are small, about 3 mm across. 

Some O. lubrica plants are strongly purplish in Arizona, especially when they are stressed or dormant. The plants may reach 40-70 cm tall and have a habit similar to that of O. microdasys. Overall, it is a more robust plant than O. microdasysO. lubrica my make a low shrub to over 1-2 m wide.

See the original citation.

Dave Ferguson reports:

O. lubrica may have hybrid origins, and possibly the plants in Arizona are not related to the ones in eastern Mexico.  However, they all look related to one another. It is possible (but not at all demonstrated) that the plants in San Luis Potosi may be derived from O. cacanapa × O. microdasys.  In Coahuila they might be derived from O. cacanapa × O. rufida.  In Arizona they might be O. chlorotica santa-rita × O. microdasys.  These suppositions are not demonstrated and perhaps all 3 populations constitute a single species with a common origin. Also, if O. cacanapa or O. chlorotica santa-rita are proposed parental taxa, why is O. lubrica so small? 

In Mexico I have mostly seen the plants on rocky slopes east of, or in the eastern part of, the Chihuahuan Desert, usually not in stark desert conditions (in the same areas that O. cacanapa  favors).  In Mexico, I’ve never seen a plant with purplish coloring (other than a tiny hint around the areoles when it gets really cold, and only in some plants).  O. lubrica grows from at least as far north as the Monclova area and the Sierra de la Paila in Coahuila south into San Luis Potosi. There are never large colonies, just scattered individuals.

Opuntia caesia

Opuntia caesia
Opuntia caesia

Griffiths, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 29(3): 13–14, 1916

Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

What is Opuntia caesia?

Opuntia caesia is a prickly pear cactus that is larger than O. phaeacantha. It may reach 2 m across and be about 60-70 cm tall with erect branches that rise from spreading, sprawling branches.

Details

Cladodes on this Opuntia are typically 10-12 cm wide by 9-12 cm long, though they are variable. The pads may narrow to a semi-stipitate base. New growth is glaucous and blue-green. There are 2-4 spines the first year that are often dark (except for pale downward sloping spines). Longest spines can be 7-8 cm long. Old spines may be more numerous and are pale. Griffiths remarked that this Opuntia has nearly as much glaucous blue bloom as O. robusta. The blue color fades to greenish or yellow-green under drought stress or with age. 

The style is white and the stigma is green; filaments are yellow with greenish bases. The ripe fruit is purplish-red but the pulp is lighter. 

The plants are abundant around Crozier, AZ. They may be low in Crozier, but are taller in Toquerville, UT. The opuntia shares similarity with O. camanchica and O. phaeacantha, but the blue color makes them distinctive. When O. phaeacantha and O. caesia are growing together the first usually has larger pads with more areoles but is typically lower, and it definitely has less woody growth. 

The original plants were described from northern Arizona. See the original citation

Opuntia sp nova aff camanchica

Opuntia sp nova aff camanchica
Opuntia sp nova aff camanchica

Introduction

Opuntia sp nova aff camanchica is an undescribed prickly pear cactus that occurs in the area of greater Albuquerque, New Mexico, including adjacent portions of Cibola National Forest. It may be found from 1650 m to 2000 m, but its altitudinal range may be greater. Similarly it may range much beyond the Albuquerque area. The prickly pear plants are semi-woody (stiff), and inspection suggests an affinity with O. camanchica. This Opuntia is smaller than O. camanchica

Though close examination shows the plant to be distinct, it is often assumed to be O. phaeacantha because the two prickly pears are of similar size. This is just one of many, presumed, undescribed Opuntia taxa in the United states. 

 

Opuntia riparia

Opuntia riparia
Opuntia riparia

Griffiths, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 27(6): 26, 1914

Herbarium (submitted as O.  engelmannii); Herbarium (O. riparia-like)

What is Opuntia riparia?

Opuntia riparia is a prickly pear cactus that grows in low, wide thickets in southern AZ. It rarely reaches waist high, but occasional cactus stems may reach to 1 to 1.2 m tall. 

Details

O. riparia plants form open, hemispherical shrubs generally to 25-30 cm tall, occasionally some branches reach up higher. Plants may occur together to form thickets. Pads are often obovate, elongate or elliptical, averaging about 20 cm long. The dark areoles are noticeably large and white spines are present in most of them. There are 2 to 6(8) white spines per areole with one or two small ones that are deflexed. Spines may or may not darken at the base. Spines on this Opuntia are an 1 to 2 cm long, stout, thick, and noticeably angular in cross section. 

Flowers are a rich bright yellow. The style is white and the dark green stigma is large (up to 1 cm across when expanded). Ovaries and fruits may be somewhat to distinctly elongate, with ovaries usually turbinate and fruits usually ovoid. Fruits may sometimes be narrowed or tapered at the base.  The seeds are not large but are larger than those of O. engelmannii, a large prickly pear.

O. angustata and O. riparia are similar and may in fact represent the same taxon. O. riparia occurs further south than O. angustata (near Superior, Arizona and below). Read the original description of O.  riparia

Opuntia covillei

Opuntia covillei
Opuntia covillei

Britton and Rose, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 50: 532, 1908

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Photograph (Britton and Rose, 1919); PaintingDrawing (JJ Thornber; The Fantastic Clan of the Cactus Family)

What is O. covillei?

Opuntia covillei is a medium-sized, California prickly pear cactus that grows in angular shapes to 1 m across.

Details

O. covillei cladodes are pale green and 9 to 20(25) cm long, and the areoles are 2-4 cm apart. Most areoles have 2-5(7) white-brown or brown spines. Spines are slender, and the the longest spine may be 5-7 cm long. Spines are brownish or white-brown. This Opuntia is notable for its overall spiny appearance.  

The bright yellow flowers are large for a prickly pear of this size. Though yellow, the flowers my be tinged with green inside. The anthers are yellow, the style is pale, and the stigma is green. The ovary on this Opuntia is 4 to 5 cm long with relatively few areoles that are mostly spineless. However, some fruits may have a few short spines.  The fruit is mildly tuberculate, relatively long, and red. Seeds are about 5 mm in diameter. 

This prickly pear often grows in impenetrable thickets 50-100 cm tall. Unlike many California opuntias, O. covillei grows in inland valleys. It grows at the base of Mt. San Bernardino, Mt. Baldy, Mt. San Gorgonio and into the desert foothills near Banning. O. covillei seems to be the same Opuntia as O. megacarpa, which was described around the same time. However, the name, O. covillei, has precedence. See the original description. Ploidy is unknown.

Opuntia diploursina

Opuntia diploursina
Opuntia diploursina

Stock, Hussey, and Beckstrom, Cactus and Succulent Journal (U.S.) 86(2): 35, 2014

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Similar to Opuntia trichophora

What is Opuntia diploursina?

Opuntia diploursina was described from near Meadview, AZ. It has similarities with O. polyacantha erinacea and O. trichophora

Details

O. diploursina grows to about 45 cm tall with upright branches of 1-4(6) cladodes. However, O. diploursina is often 20 cm tall. Cladodes are narrowly obovate to elloptic, 9-14 cm long, and 6-9 cm wide. As in O. polyacantha erinaceae and O. trichophora, the areoles are many and close together. Often there is one major spine per areole, especially in the second year. Spines are straw-colored or yellow-tan and flexible, 2-10 cm long. There are many minor spines appressed to the cladode surface and crossing over other areoles. 

The yellow flowers are 6-7 cm long, but they can have a peach-colored cast to them due to a pinkish blush on many tepals. The style is white and the stigma is green. Filaments are white. Fruit is dry. There may be about 15 spines in each fruit areole–10 mm long or longer. The fruit is many seeded with propagules 9-10 mm in diameter with pronounced rims. 

A major and important difference between O. polyacantha erinaceae and O. diplourisna is polidy. The former is tetraploid whereas the latter is diploid as is O. trichophora.

O. diplourina is related to O. trichophora. O. diplourisna differs from  O. trichophora in being more upright, the presence of more minor spines that are more closely appressed to the cladode surface, and more and more flexible spines on the fruit. 

The original authors proposed that O. diploursina represents an ancient diploid ancestor of O. polyacantha erinacea but did not elaborate. Hybrids between this Opuntia and O. basilaris and have been reported. Read the original description. O. diplourisna is diploid.

Permission to reproduce the original description was provided by the Cactus and Succulent Society Journal.

Opuntia arizonica

Opuntia arizonica
Opuntia arizonica

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 20: 93, 1909

Holotype; Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; HerbariumPainting (watercolor over photograph, Krieger and Griffith, 1915, Smithsonian Institution Archive); Photograph (D Griffiths, ca. 1910); Photograph (D Griffiths, ca. 1910); Photograph (Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden, 20: 1909)

What is Opuntia arizonica?

Opuntia arizonica is a seldom-reported species of prickly pear cactus. It is not rare but is usually lumped into O. engelmannii as a spiny and small specimen and thus is an unnoticed Opuntia. It has been found near Congress, AZ in Tucson, AZ, in central NM, and in the greater El Paso region. 

Details

This prickly pear cactus resembles O. engelmannii but is spinier. Additionally this particular Opuntia is decidedly smaller than the large O. engelmannii. O. arizonica may be nearly prostrate or may ascend to 30-40 cm tall or a bit more. Plants my be 50 cm across, or they may sprawl to 1 m. Cladodes are typically 25-30 cm across and subcircular. Areoles become relatively large and even up to 8-11 mm in longest diameter on the edges of pads. They darken with age. Sometimes the tissue of an areole my proliferate creating a bump in the center. There are (2)3-4(6) stout spines per areole on this Opuntia; the longest may be 2.5 to 5 cm long. Glochids may be scattered throughout the areoles, but are most numerous in the upper portion.

Flowers are average in size and yellow. The fruit of this prickly pear is reported to be subglobose, but we have observed egg-shaped fruit. O. arizonica may be the same taxon as O. sp nova aff engelmannii. See the original citation. Ploidy is not known.

Opuntia discata

Opuntia discata
Opuntia discata

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 19: 266, 1908

Isotype; Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium

O. discata has some similarities with O. engelmannii

What is Opuntia discata?

Opuntia discata is a handsome, large prickly pear cactus. It is ascending and compact to 1-1.4 m tall and perhaps as wide. The white spines provide beauty and character. 

Details

O. discata cladodes are about up to 25 cm wide and often circular or broadly obovate, sometimes elliptical. Cladodes are a handsome dark green when young but turn to waxy gray at maturity. Spines are chalky white or dirty white and reddish-brown or darker towards the base. A very pale, pink tinge may permeate. Overall however, the spines appear bone-white against the green pads. Spines may be up to 2.5 cm long but more commonly 1-1.5 cm and are present in 2/3 or most areoles. There are 3-5(7) in uppermost areoles, whereas lower areoles may have a single spine. Spines are erect, but few are precisely perpendicular to the pad. Mostly they have a gentle curve outwards or just lean outwards. They seldom curve parallel with (or back towards) the cladode. 

The lemon-yellow flowers may darken to orange at the base, or they may change to orange over the day of anthesis. Filaments are greenish-white, the style is white, and the stigma is dark green. Fruit is obovate or roundish and seldom narrows to a neck. Fruits are a deep, dark-red, about 6-7 cm in length. 

O. discata is sometimes confused with O. engelmannii because the two are large, but the former is compact and the latter is is a more open prickly pear. O. engelmannii often has has a more upright stance than O. discata. Seen side-by-side they are distinct and they don’t interbreed. See a table comparing O. engelmannii with O. discata

Britton and Rose reported that this Opuntia is found on “the foothills and mesas of southern AZ and northern Sonora, MX.” There is some uncertainty about the name, discata. Some interpretations of the literature suggest the species could be called O. microcarpa. Our review suggests that O. discata has precedence as a name. See the original description. O. discata is hexaploid.

Opuntia columbiana

Opuntia columbiana
Opuntia columbiana

Griffiths, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 43: 523, 1916

Lectotype; Lectotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

What is Opuntia columbiana?

Opuntia columbiana is a prickly pear cactus that occurs in northeast Oregon and southeast Washington. Opuntia columbiana is referred to as O. × columbiana by some botanists (Anderson, 2001) who maintain that this Opuntia is a prickly pear hybrid between O. polyacantha erinacea and O. fragilis

Details

Some botanists report that O. columbiana resembles an O. fragilis hybrid over part of its range only. Perhaps this Opuntia represents two or more cactus species that need more study. Though it may have hybrid origins, at least some populations of this prickly pear appear to be stable and self-reproducing if only clonally. This fact suggests that O. columbiana may be a stand-alone taxon and we regard it as such lacking other information. Also interesting is that some cladodes (on many plants) are often narrowly obovate (about 5 × 10-15 cm), unlike either of the proposed ancestral species.

The plants form low mats with fragile cladodes that are flattened, narrowly to broadly obovate, and fragile. Second year growth may be yellowish green. Major spines are present in most areoles, reflexed to porrect and yellowish to gray-white to brown, (20)25-40(50) mm long. Radial spines are also present. 

Flowers are yellow, 30-50 cm across. Filaments are red or brownish-red, anthers are yellow. The style is white and the stigma is green. Fruits are seldom set. Seeds are tan and 5-7 mm across. The protruding girdle is 1-1.5 mm. See the original description. O. columbiana is hexaploid. 

Opuntia canada

Opuntia canada
Opuntia canada

Griffiths, Annual report Missouri Botanical Garden 20: 90, 1909

Holotype; Topotype; Herbarium (as O. engelmannii); Painting

What is Opuntia canada?

Opuntia canada is a large, erect, ascending cactus that grows in far southern AZ. It is a compact-appearing prickly pear. 

Details

O.  canada grows in thickets or singly. This Opuntia may reach 1 m in height, but taller plants are known. It has ovate or obovate cladodes approximately 16 by 22 cm. But cladodes are variable in size, especially when young. Areoles are brown when young but turn black. However, they often retain a brown center because new wool continually develops in the center of the areole. Spines may not be present till cladodes are two years-old, but then they may be conspicuous. Spines are variable but are commonly yellow when young and bleaching to white. There are (1)2-3(5) spines per areoles, about 12-15 mm in length. They increase in number and length on older growth. 

The flowers are yellow but may be tinged with reddish or orange on the bases of the inner tepals. The style is white or white tinged with red. The stigma is bright green. Fruit may be light-red or mottled yellow and red. Seeds are flat but thick and angular, 3-3.5 mm in diameter with a prominently notched hilum. 

O. canada shares similarities with spiny forms of O. laevis; however, the two Opuntia species are consistently different. For instance, O. laevis grows on canyon walls or the rubble at the base, whereas O. canada grows in deeper soils, often on canyon floors. Also, in contrast to O. laevis, O. canada has hairless seedlings and relatively short fruits. See the original description.