Opuntia spinosibacca

Anthony, American Midland Naturalist 55: 246. 1956

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium


Opuntia spinosibacca is found only in the Big Bend region of Texas in the USA, but it is also likely found in adjacent MX. It is a large plant to 4-ft tall and 5-ft wide, some times with a very short trunk (2- to 3- inches  tall) that may be 5-inches in diameter. The cladodes are generally obovate and 4- to 7-inches long and 3- to 5-inches wide. There are 2 to 5 spines in almost all areoles. Mature spines are reddish-orange or even chestnut red; the longest spines are 2- to 4-inches long. Spines age to gray. The taxon is proposed to be a species created through the natural hybridization of O. aureispina (a diploid species) and O. phaeacantha (a hexaploid species). Irrespective of its ancient origins, the taxon is self-reproducing and is considered a discrete species herein. See the original  description. O. spinosibacca is probably tetraploid.

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Powell and Weedin (2004) reported that “The plants of O. spinosibacca are upright, compact shrubs to 1- to 1.5-m tall…The pads are light green to yellowish-green [but sometimes appearing bluish] with spines in areoles across most of the pad except near the base.” A purple blotch near each areole is often present. Sometimes, a low spreading variant of O. spinosibacca may be confused with a tall plant of O. camanchica.

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