Opuntia gomei

Opuntia gomei
Opuntia gomei

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 21: 167, 1910

Holotype; Holotype (submitted as O. laxiflora); IsotypeIsotype (submitted as O. laxiflora); Herbarium (submitted as O. lindheimeri)


Opuntia gomei is a common prickly pear near the Rio Grande River, but it may occur inland on the South Texas Plains. The cactus 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 cacti often contain dead material in the centers. Large cladodes may by 40 to 60 cm (or more) in diameter. Glochids are abundant and prominent in this opuntia, up to 1 cm. The glochids may fill and entire areole as is the case with O. lindheimeri. The yellow spines are 2-4(5) cm long and there are often 2-4(5) per areole. The cactus spines are erect and divergent. The largish pads are often scalloped. The flowers are yellow, but red flowers have been reported. A spineless variety called ‘Old Mexico’ is known in the nursery trade; it forms large shrubs and, like the species, has large cladodes.  O. gomei is synonymous with O. laxiflora and has been conflated with O. lindheimeri, O. alta, and O. orbiculata. See the original description.

2 thoughts on “Opuntia gomei”

  1. Opuntia undulata is a tropical plant and is unlikely to grow north of south Texas or southern California. O. gomei is more cold tolerant. Also, O. gomei has lots of spines, whereas O. undulata has not spines.

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