Opuntia martiniana

(L.D. Benson) B.D. Parfitt, Systematic Botany 5(4): 416, 1980 [1981]

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium


Opuntia martiniana is found sporadically on gravelly or rocky soils below 5,000 ft in the Hualapai Mts near Kingman, AZ. The cladodes are often round with (sometimes) long spines arising from the areoles. The spines are pale yellow at the tips, changing to yellow and yellow-brown, and sometimes finally brown at the base. Overall the spines may appear golden or yellowish brown. Most areoles have spines; typically there are 2 strong ones that are semi-vertical to the pad surface. Two or three lesser spines may be present but without such vertical presence. See original description by Parfitt. O. martiniana is tetraploid.

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Dave Ferguson writes:

I hope to look at the type specimen of Opuntia martiniana sometime because Benson seems to have used the name for different plants, and the proper use of the name hinges on what the type specimen really is. Benson seems to have been re-describing Opuntia gilvescens, and most of his published photos are of that species (some of the color photos are of other species, likely all O. phaeacantha). None of Benson’s photos are of the plant that Pinkava and Parfitt called Opuntia martiniana. It strikes me as odd that Benson would misinterpret his own species, but it’s possible. In theory the type specimen should match his photos and should be O. gilvescens.

Pinkava considered the type specimen to be the same as yellow-spined, semi-erect plants that are most like O. azurea and O. macrocentra. Pinkava’s yellow-spined plant is found in the mountains of the Kingman area in Arizona and is very distinctive. Earle called the plant “O. superbospina”, but that name doesn’t fit either, for that plant is a low-growing plant with very long spines of another color (probably long-spined O. phaeacantha or perhaps O. tortispina).

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