Opuntia abjecta

Opuntia abjecta
Opuntia abjecta

Small ex Britton and Rose, The Cactaceae, Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family 4: 257, 1923

Herbarium; Herbarium

What is Opuntia abjecta?

Opuntia abjecta is a prickly pear cactus that occurs in the lower Florida Keys where it grows on bare limestone or where a bit of sand or humus has accumulated.


This Opuntia grows up to 15 cm tall and forms multi-branched mats. The cladodes are 2-8 cm long and thickish. While not fragile, the cladodes are not firmly attached to each other. The longest spines on this prickly pear may be 4-5 cm. Like O. zebrina and unlike O. pusilla, this cactus has teardrop-shaped leaves. The seeds of O. abjecta are about 4 mm in diameter.

Some botanists have accepted this Opuntia as a synonym of O. triacantha. We accept O. abjecta as a taxon independent from O. triacantha (see the paper by Majure et al). The type locality is Big Pine Key, FL.

See the original citation. Both diploid and tetraploid forms of O. abjecta have been reported. 


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