Opuntia oricola

Opuntia oricola
Opuntia oricola

Philbrick, Cactus and Succulent Journal (U.S.) 36(6): 163, 1964

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium 

Details

Opuntia oricola is probably the easiest prickly pear cactus to recognize in coastal CA.  It is also the one cactus that was called O. littoralis the most consistently (but incorrectly) until Philbrick fixed the problem by naming it O. oricola. Everything got confused when, at the same time, L Benson expanded the concept of O. littoralis to include other taxa (including O. oricola). O. oricola is nothing like O. littoralis.

This Opuntia grows to 3 m tall. The pads are 15 to 26 cm long and 12 to 19 cm wide, elliptic to circular. Spines are yellow, translucent, and narrow. Centrals may be twice as long as radials; spines are present in essentially all areoles. The style is bright red with a bulbous base, the stigma lobes are yellow or golden. The fruit of this Opuntia is spherical with a deep umbilicus. This prickly pear cactus grows in the coastal area from Santa Barbara, CA to Ensenada, MX, including the Channel Islands. It typically occurs with coastal sage vegetation in disturbed habitats on south facing slopes at 150 m or less. See the original description. O. oricola is triploid.

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