Small ex Britton and Rose, The Cactaceae, Descriptions and Illustrations of Plants of the Cactus Family 4: 257, 1923
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 also 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.
There is typically one yellow flower per cladode. The fruit is gently tuberculate, urn shaped, and rounded at the base.
Both diploid and tetraploid forms of O. abjecta have been reported.
Some botanists have accepted this name as a synonym of O. triacantha. We accept O. abjecta as a taxon independent from O. triacantha (see Majure et al). The type locality is Big Pine Key, FL.