Opuntia discata

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

Isotype; Isotype; Herbarium


Opuntia discata plants are ascending and compact to 3- to 4-ft tall and perhaps as wide unlike O. engelmannii which often forms more spreading, open plants. The cladodes are about 8- to 10-inches wide and often roughly circular. Spines are chalky white or dirty white and reddish towards the base; a very pale, pink tinge may permeate throughout.  Spines may be over 1-inch long, and there may be none in the lowest areoles and 5(7) in upper areoles. Spines are erect. The style is white and the yellow petals may darken to orange at their bases. Areoles are 1/4- to 1/2-inches wide and brown when young, darkening to black. Britton and Rose reported that the species is found on “the foothills and mesas of southern AZ and northern Sonora, MX.” See a table comparing O.engelmannii with O. discata. See the original description. O. discata is hexaploid.

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There is some uncertainty about the name, Opuntia 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.

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