Opuntia mesacantha

Opuntia mesacantha
Opuntia mesacantha

Rafinesque, Bulletin Botanique 1: 216, 1830

(Also Opuntia mesacantha Raf ssp mesacantha Majure, Phytotaxa 290, 1: 1–65 )

See O. cespitosa    See O. humifusa    See O. lata

Neotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Hebarium (as O. humifusa); Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Original Description 

What is Opuntia mesacantha?

Opuntia mesacantha is a southeastern prickly pear found in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina on the Atlantic Coastal Plain Fulf Coast Barrier Islands. It is absent in the Florida peninsula. It resembles O. humifusa, O. lata, and O. cespitosa but has distinct differences; see Majure, 2014 and Majure et al, 2012

Details

O. mesacantha is a prostrate plant that may branch in all directions to 1 m across. Cladodes may be spined or unspined and are smooth in outline, obovate or rotund, occasionally elliptical. Spines are stout (0.95-1.3 mm in diameter). 

Flowers are pure yellow with no red. Fruits are reddish at maturity. Seeds are 5.0-5.9 mm long. 

O. mesacantha and O. lata are difficult to differentiate in the field, but Adanick et al., 2019 developed a method to measure stomates in the field and differentiate the two taxa easily.  Like other eastern prickly pears, O. mesacantha colonizes sandy or rocky areas that become dry between rains. 

Opuntia mesacantha is tetraploid. 

Other Notes

Concerning the differences between O. mesacantha and O. humifusa, The Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (2015) reports:

O. humifusa is an allotetraploid (2n=44), cryptic species that is most easily confused with O. mesacantha ssp. mesacantha, from which it can be separated by its lack of spines…and generally increased number of areoles per diagonal row across the cladode face at midstem (4-5 vs. 3-4 in O. mesacantha), generally inserted glochids (vs. exerted in O. mesacantha), and smaller seeds (4.0-4.6 mm long in O. humifusa vs. 5.0-5.9 mm long in O. mesacantha) with a smooth funicular envelop (instead of the upraised funicular envelope in O. mesacantha ssp. mesacantha).

Opuntia xanthoglochia

Opuntia xanthoglochia
Opuntia xanthoglochia

Griffiths, Annual Report of the Missouri Botanical Garden 21: 166, 1910

Holotype; Painting (Mary Emily Eaton); Painting (Mary Emily Eaton)

Original Description

What is Opuntia xanthoglochia?

Opuntia xanthoglochia is a prickly pear cactus cactus found in central Texas east of Austin, although it may range into other areas.

Details

O. xanthoglochia resembles O. macrorhiza. The plant is prostrate to 20-30 cm tall. Large plants may be 1.0 m across. The cladodes are oval or obovate and may be more or less pointed at both ends or round. Cladodes may be 10 cm across and up to 12(15) cm long. Areoles are raised. O. xanthoglochia has yellowish glochids, sometimes numerous and prominent and up to 1 cm inch long.

The flowers are lemon yellow with red or brownish-red centers, about 7 cm in diameter. However, flowers are variable, sometimes with no red and other times with excess red. Other times the red is confined to the mid-rib of the tepals. Filaments are greenish, and the style and stigma are white or pale yellowish. The ovary is long and slim. 

O. xanthoglochia is diploid.

Other Notes

O. xanthoglochia may be considered a diploid form of O. macrorhiza s.l. 

See more about the ploidy of O. xanthoglochia.

Opuntia cespitosa

Opuntia cespitosa
Opuntia cespitosa

Rafinesque, Bulletin Botanique 2: 216, 1830

Neotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; HerbariumHerbarium (as O. humifusa); Herbarium (with O. nemoralis); Herbarium (as humifusa); Herbarium (as humifusa); Herbarium (as O. humifusa); Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium (as O. humifusa); Herbarium

See O. humifusa   See O. lata    See O. mesacantha

Original Description

What is Opuntia cespitosa?

Opuntia cespitosa is a prickly pear in the O. humifusa group of cacti (O. humifusa s.l.). O. cespitosa resembles O. humifusa and has long been overlooked by botanists because it was considered synonymous with that species. O. cespitosa also has similarities with the western species, O. macrorhiza

Details

O. cespitosa cladodes generally appear glaucous-gray. Cladodes have 0-2 spines that are either both erect or both deflexed. Only centrals are produced. O. cespitosa does not have strongly retrorsely-barbed spines, which are common in the related O. mesacantha. The spines of O. cespitosa place it in contrast with O. humifusa, which lacks spines. Typically,  the chains of cladodes are parallel to the ground surface. As with related plants (i.e., O. humifusa s.l.), the cladodes become wrinkled in fall. 

O. cespitosa has yellow flowers with red centers. Filaments are yellow and anthers are pale. The style is white and the stigma is white or pale yellow. The fruit is clavate. 

O. cespitosa is tetraploid.

Other Notes

O. cespitosa is the most common Opuntia species in the eastern states though it has traditionally been subsumed into O. humifusa and was not noticed. It is present in multiple eastern, southern, and midwestern states including AL, AR, CT, GA, IL, IN, MA, MD, MI, MO, MS, NY, OH, VA and WV. It is the only Opuntia that occurs in eastern Canada (far southern Ontario). Recent work by Paul D. Adanick shows that this Opuntia occurs in many locations in TN and KY but that it may not be numerous at any specific location. It is often found in rocky situations but also occurs in dry soils.

Various relevant scientific papers have reported on this Opuntia: Majure, 2014; Majure et al., 2012; Majure and Ervin, 2007. O. cespitosa resembles O. macrorhiza and is related to that taxon. 

Unlike O. cespitosa, other Southeast Opuntia spp. have all-yellow flowers. 

The Flora of the Southern and Mid-Atlantic States (2015) reports:

Vegetatively, it is most similar to Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha, from which this allopolyploid may be partially derived, although floral features are quite different, and O. cespitosa does not have the strongly retrorsely-barbed spines common in O. mesacantha. This species also can be confused with certain forms of O. macrorhiza, another putative parent of O. cespitosa; both species have yellow inner tepals basally tinged red adaxially.

Opuntia zuniensis

Opuntia zuniensis
Opuntia zuniensis

Griffiths, Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 43: 86, 1916

Holotype; Isotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Original Description.

What is Opuntia zuniensis?

Opuntia zuniensis is a handsome, prickly pear cactus found in Arizona, New Mexico, southern Utah, and perhaps southwestern Colorado. It has been lumped together with O. phaeacantha, O. tortispina, or O. camanchica.

Details

O. zuniensis branches are prostrate on plants that may be 25-30 cm tall and up to 1 m across. Cladodes recline on their edges. Sometimes, a pad will rise above the others. Cladodes are obovate, oval, or rhomboid and may be acute at both ends. Mature cladodes may reach 10-12 cm across and up to 25 cm long. Areoles are often a 1 cm apart or a bit more on mature cladodes. Spines are white(ish) but can be straw-yellow on the apex of new growth. There are up to 6 spines at the apex of new growth, and one or more may be 2 inches long. Over time the apex spines may reach 3 inches in length. The plant often develops a shaggy look due to its numerous, long spines.

Flowers are generally medium or light yellow without red, but may become light orangish late in the day or on day two. The fruit is light, dull red. The rind is greenish and the pulp is colorless. 

Ploidy is unknown.

Other Notes

O. zuniensis is usually found growing on sandy soils of grasslands or pinon-juniper woodlands; sometimes it is found in the in Navajoan Desert. If it is growing on slopes or in rocky areas, it will usually grow in pockets of sandy soil. O. zuniensis is a monotypic species; it is not as variable as other Opuntia of similar size. Rarely, the flowers of O. zuniensis are light orange instead of light yellow. Also uncommonly, the bases of the white spines may darken slightly. Overall, O. zuniensis has a shaggy look due to its spines. O. zuniensis often blooms 2- to 3-weeks later than O. polyacantha.  

O. zuniensis is an excellent garden plant due to its small size and shaggy, spiny look. Also, its bloom time extends the season. 

 

 

Opuntia woodsii

Opuntia woodsii
Opuntia woodsii

Backeberg, Descriptiones Cactacearum Novarum 10, 1956

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Original Citation

What is Opuntia woodsii?

O. woodsii is a unique, red-flowered medium-sized Opuntia from southern Utah and northern Arizona.

Details

O. woodsii is a medium-sized Opuntia, sedom  reaching more than 50 cm in height. Nevertheless, it is not a small plant. It is typically a stiffly spreading or ascending bushy plant. However, it does grow low and spreads along the ground in cold winter climates. Cladodes may be round but are more often oval or obovate, narrowing toward the base. Areoles in the upper half of the cladodes have (1)2-4 whitish spines that may stand out from the surface. The white spines sometimes have brown bases extending half way up the spine.

Flowers are salmon, pink, or even bright orange-red.

Ploidy is unknown. 

Details. 

O. woodsii has been proposed to be synonymous with numerous other prickly pears. It has even been proposed to be a pink- or red-flowered hybrid of various parents. But it is a distinct cactus. It is a self-reproducing species and is not a hybrid population. It reproduces true from seed. 

O. woodsii grows in gravelly or rocky soils. 

O. woodsii is an excellent garden plant due to its medium size, reddish flowers, and white spines. Some clones are exceptionally cold hardy. 

 

Details.

Opuntia tortispina

Opuntia tortispina
Opuntia tortispina

Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences 3: 293, 1856 [1857]

Isolectoype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; HerbariumHerbarium; Herbarium (submitted as O. aff polyacantha); Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium (submitted as O. polyacantha); Herbarium (submitted as O. polyacantha); Herbarium (submitted as O. polyacantha); Drawing (Britton and Rose, v1 1919, plate XV)

Original Description

What is Opuntia tortispina?

Opuntia tortispina is a prickly pear cactus that has been confused with O. cymochila, O. mackensenii, O. phaeacantha and other, small opuntias. O. tortispina may grow alongside the other prickly pears, but it is distinct. 

Details

From Powell and Weedin: 

O. tortispina is often spinier appearing than other nearby species of Opuntia and is a low, creeping, spreading, and sprawling plant . It seldom exceeds 30 cm tall. The pads are obovate or long obovate about 10-20 cm long and 7-12 cm wide. Areoles over 2/3 of the pads have spines, often 3 to 5 centrals (typically white or tan). Areoles are closer together on O. tortispina than on O. phaeacantha. Pads may/may not have transverse wrinkles in winter; however, unlike O. cymochila the wrinkles smooth out when turgidity returns.

Flowers may be all yellow or may have reddish centers in this prickly pear. The fruits are juicy and obovate to elliptic.  

O. tortispina is hexaploid or tetraploid. The two reported ploidy levels may mean that two different taxa exist.

Other Notes

See a table comparing O. tortispina with O. cymochila

This Opuntia is found in sandy soils in mid-altitude woodlands and grasslands and irregularly in other locations. O. tortispina is found from northern Mexico to Colorado, Arizona, and Texas and perhaps north to Colorado and Kansas. Some botanists consider that O. tortispina is a species of hybrid origin (O. polyacantha and O. macrorhiza). However, such hybridization would have occurred long ago. Nonetheless, it is a stable, self-reproducing and stand-alone species now. 

Opuntia sp nova aff macrorhiza

Opuntia sp nova aff macrorhiza
Opuntia sp nova aff macrorhiza

Introduction 

This undescribed prickly pear cactus occurs in northern New Mexico. It has similarities with Opuntia macrorhiza. However, the flowers have no red in them and the stigma is bright green.

More studies are needed.

Opuntia trichophora

Opuntia trichophora
Opuntia trichophora

(Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) Britton & Rose, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 50: 535, 1908

Lectotype (O. missouriensis trichophora); Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; HerbariumHerbariumDrawing (The Botany of the Expedition, 1856, plate XV No. 1-4 [O. missouriensis trichophora])

Opuntia trichophora is related to O. arenaria

O. trichophora is related to O. diploursina

O. trichophora is related to O. polyacantha

Original Citation

What is Opuntia trichophora?

Opuntia trichophora is a prickly pear cactus that has been treated as a variety of O. polyacantha. Herein we treat it as a stand-alone species of prickly pear because of its unique differences from O. polyacantha

Details

From Powell and Weedin: 

The pads of this Opuntia are variously shaped: broadly ovate, orbiculate, obovate to narrowly obovate and flat. The pads are often 7-13 cm long and 5.5-11 cm in diameter and about 1 cm thick, but smaller pads occur. The areoles are close together: 0.6-1.3 cm apart. Spines are present in almost all of the areoles. The areoles on this prickly pear are closely spaced with about a dozen slender spines (6-17). The longest spines may be hairlike and 4-8 cm long. The other spines are 1-3 cm long and are often appressed. The longer spines are typically pale.

Flowers of this Opuntia are yellow, 4-7 cm long and 4-5 cm wide, but smaller flowers may be produced. The filaments are often pale or barely green-tinted to cream-colored or even pale yellow. They style is cream to pinkish and about 2 cm long and only slightly bulbous at the base. The 8 stigma lobes are 3 mm long and dark green. The slender pericarpel has spiny or hairy areoles. The fruits are dry and smallish, very spiny at maturity. The fruits are obconic or nearly so and 1.9 to 2.5 cm long with many areoles. The umbilicus may be up to 8 mm deep. There are few (8-10) large seeds per fruit, irregularly discoid, 6-6.8 mm in maximum diameter, 1.5-2 mm thick, with a beaked margin 1-2 mm wide. 

O. trichophora is diploid.

Other Notes

O. trichophora is similar in overall appearance to O. diploursina. Both may have spines that are very slender and flexible, forming long hairs and areoles that are close together. Some plants may not have long hair-like spines and can have a wooly appearance with many short spines. 

Some individuals may have slender spines longer than 14 cm. Sometimes the hair-like spines are located only on the underside of the plant, are few in number, and are early deciduous. Occasionally plants  have no discernible long hairs. The smallish pads are frequently obscured by the presence of many spines. 

O. trichophora often grows on hot rocky slopes or cliff faces in mountainous or otherwise dissected terrain, but it can grow on gypsum soils or even sandy soils in grasslands or pinon-juniper woodlands. Some populations grow in baking hot conditions (e.g., on south- or southwest-facing sunny basalt cliffs). O. trichophora grows above 3000 ft and often grows at 5000-7000 ft. It has been anecdotally reported at 9000 ft.

This Opuntia occurs throughout much of Colorado Plateau and north into Wyoming along Flaming Gorge. It may be observed east of the central mountains of Utah, on the western side of Colorado, in northern Arizona, in most of New Mexico west of the Great Plains, in trans-Pecos Texas, and Chihuahua, Mexico. 


Opuntia pusilla (O. drummondii)

Opuntia pusilla
Opuntia pusilla

(Haworth) Haworth, Synopsis Plantarum Succulentarum 195, 1812

Neotype; Neotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium;  Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium (O. frustulenta); Painting

Original Description

What is Opuntia pusilla?

Opuntia pusilla is a small prickly pear cactus of the Atlantic Coastal Plants from North Carolina, and across  parts of northern Florida to Mississippi. While thought of as a beach cactus, this small prickly pear cactus may occur more than 100 miles inland. 

Details

The stems of this prickly pear cactus are flattened, elliptic to linear, sometimes subcylindric (to subspheric), 2.5-5(-8) × 1.2-2.5 cm. The stem segments are fragile and detach easily. Spines (0)1-2(-4) per areole are restricted the the distal half of the areoles, but some areoles may have no spines. Spines are porrect to spreading, terete and 20(30) mm.

The flowers of this Opuntia are completely yellow. Fruits become red-purple and are barrel shaped. Seeds are tan, subcircular, flattened, and 4 to 6 mm in diameter with a slight girdle. 

O. pusilla is diploid, triploid, or tetraploid

Other Notes

The ploidies may indicate that there are different, but similar-appearing taxa, or they may only indicate ploidy differences within a single taxon. All are treated as a single taxon herein. 

O. drummondii may be the correct name for this Opuntia (L Majure, page 167). Some reports (Weniger, 1988) place it on the northern Gulf Coast of Texas, but the authors have not observed it there. Several other specific epithets have been applied to this smallest of the southeastern opuntias including tracyi, and pes-corvi. Perhaps these are synonyms or perhaps they are discrete taxa yet to be sorted out. See the Cytogeography of the humifusa clade of Opuntia

Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha erinaceae
Opuntia polyacantha erinaceae

Haworth, Supplementum Plantarum Succulentarum 82, 1819

Original Description

What is Opuntia polyacantha?

Opuntia polyacantha is a variable prickly pear cactus ranging from Mexico near California, to Texas, to the Rocky Mountain states and the Great Plains, and north into Alberta and Saskatchewan. This prickly pear cactus has even been observed in dry areas in Minnesota and Missouri. This Opuntia is more much more widely spread than the ubiquitous O. phaeacantha

Details

Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha

We recognize 7 varieties of this prickly pear cactus. Not all have been formally described as varieties (e.g., O. polyacantha rhodantha is cited as a stand-alone species), but they represent our concept of the species. Nonetheless, the taxonomy of this Opuntia is complicated, and there are many expressions of O. polyacantha. Some do not fit precisely into the 7 varieties described here. It is possible that new taxa will be recognized within the currently broad concept of the taxon. Alternately, some varieties may some day be condensed with others. Fruits are dry at maturity; flowers are often yellow but may be orange, pink, or magenta. Seeds are large. Read the original description. O. polyacantha is tetraploid, but perhaps one or more other ploidies are represented in this large and diverse group of prickly pears.

O. polyacantha is tetraploid. 

Varieties

Other species have been treated as varieties of O. polyacantha including O. nicholii and O. trichophora (see Powell and Weedin). But these are treated as separate species herein because they are hexaploid or diploid, respectively and because they are don’t intergreade with the varieties described here. 


O. polyacantha erinacea (Engelmann & J.M. Bigelow) B.D. Parfitt, Cactus and Succulent Journal (Los Angeles) 70(4): 188. 1998

Herbarium; HerbariumHerbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Opuntia polyacantha erinacea has areoles that are usually large and relatively close together. The cladodes are typically very thick and often elongate. The plants tend to form upright clumps. They have many spines, usually mostly slender and terete. The spines can be stiff or hair-like, even on the same plant (some eastern populations of this prickly pear cactus have mostly plants with very thick stiff relatively short spines). The spines of this prickly pear cactus vary in color but are often light. The fruit is usually more elongate than in var polyacantha and often reddish when initially ripe (but soon fading to brown or tan as they dry).  O.  polyacantha erinacea is found in rocky areas (occasionally sandy areas) in the Mojave Desert and on hot rocky south slopes in the Great Basin Desert north almost to (or perhaps into) Idaho.  It grows in hotter areas of canyons up the Colorado and San Juan Rivers into southern Utah and almost to the Four Corners in Arizona (it was mostly behind dam building and populations were destroy by reservoirs).  This Opuntia variety grows in southeastern California, Nevada, northern Arizona, Utah, and Colorado. Plants at high elevations in the Mojave Desert and southern California sometimes spread more than typical plants and sometimes are nearly spineless, whereas some plants at lower elevations may have enough spines to visually obscure the stem. Some botanists consider O. polyacantha var erinacea to be a separate cactus species, but we treat it as a variety of O. polyacantha herein, especially because it intergrades with, and readily interbreeds with, the other varieties. 

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O. polyacantha hystricina (Engelmann & J.M. Bigelow) B.D. Parfitt, Cactus and Succulent Journal (Los Angeles) 70(4): 188. 1998

Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Opuntia polyacantha hystricina is very much like var erinacea, but the joints of this Opuntia are usually not so thick, and the plants are broader, lower, and more openly spreading in habit (as is the case for most O. polyacantha varieties).  This prickly pear cactus is found in areas with at least a modicum of summer rainfall in cold winter deserts and in grasslands from eastern Nevada and southwestern Utah to southwestern Colorado, central New Mexico, and across most of northern Arizona.

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O. polyacantha juniperina (Britton & Rose) L.D. Benson, Cacti of Arizona (ed. 3) 20. 1969

Herbarium; HerbariumHerbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Opuntia polyacantha juniperina is much like var polyacantha in many traits, but it has much fewer spines that are confined to the upper areoles or which may be nearly completely absent. The lower areoles of this Opuntia may have only one or two tiny spines or no spines. The fruit is often spineless or nearly so. This prickly pear cactus is found in mountainous areas of the Colorado Plateaus and Southern Rocky Mountains, but it is rare in the Front Range region. It is found in southern Wyoming, Colorado, eastern Utah, northern Arizona, and northern and central New Mexico. Similar groups of plants are scattered into Idaho and north into northern Wyoming and in the Black Hills as well as the higher plateaus and mountain country of northern Arizona. It is replaced to the west by var utahensis (the division is the north-south trending, central high plateaus and mountains of Utah). It usually grows in open conifer woodland, mountain scrub, or in areas of sagebrush.

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O. polyacantha polyacantha Haworth

Lectotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; HerbariumPainting

Opuntia polyacantha polyacantha forms a low spreading prickly pear cactus and usually has roundish pads (shape varies somewhat). The areoles are small and close together in this Opuntia. The spines are numerous with one stout, terete central spine that is is often 2 to 2.5 cm long (occasionally another one or two centrals may be present that are likely to be flattened). Several (to many) smaller spines radiate around the central central. Spine color is highly varied and has been the basis for several of synonymous names. Fruit of this prickly pear cactus tends to be roundish with short stout spines. It grows mostly in grasslands but occasionally into scrub and woodlands in mountains. It is found on the Great Plains and in the Rockies, from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Minnesota southward to central New Mexico, and the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. This Opuntia has been reported IA and MO. It also occurs in southern Idaho and eastern Utah. Similar plants grow in the Columbia Basin between the Blue Mountains and southern British Columbia that seem to represent this variety too; these may be westward continuations of populations in Idaho and Montana.

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O. polyacantha rhodantha K. Schumann, La Semaine Horticole 1897 (as O. rhodantha)

Neotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Opuntia polyacantha rhodantha has not been formally described as a variety of the O. polyacantha prickly pear cactus, but we treat it as one herein. It has areoles that are large and relatively far apart. Stem segments are usually very thick and may be elongate; they are generally “lumpy” because the areoles are prominent. Generally, cladodes are dark- or dull-waxy green. The spines of this Opuntia variety are stout, varied in color, and have annulate markings.  The fruit has prominent (sometimes elevated) areoles that are relatively far apart, usually with stout short spines (but sometimes nearly spineless). This Opuntia is found mostly in desert in northern halves of Colorado Plateaus and Great Basin, lapping into Southern Rockies, Snake River Plains and Wyoming Basin. It also grows in Utah, western Colorado, southwestern Wyoming, southern Idaho, southeastern Oregon, and parts of eastern Nevada.

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Opuntia polyacantha schweriniana, Handbuch der Kakteenkunde. Einleitung und Beschreibung der Pereskioideae und Opuntioideae. 1: 607. 1958 (K. Schum.) Backeberg

HerbariumHerbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium

Opuntia polyacantha schweriniana tends to be a miniature replica of vars polyacantha, juniperina, or hystricina–spination in this prickly pear cactus varies. It grows at high elevations (often above the other varieties) in the Southern Rocky Mountains in eastern Utah, Colorado, northern New Mexico, southern Wyoming, with pockets of similar plants further north in Wyoming and in the Black Hills.  Also a few patches at high elevations occur in the San Juan drainage in northeastern Arizona. See the original description (as O. schweriniana). 

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O. polyacantha utahensis Purpus (O. utahensis), Monatsschrift für Kakteenkunde 19: 133. 1909

Neotype; Herbarium; Herbarium; Herbarium 

Opuntia polyacantha utahensis has areoles that are relatively far apart. The cladodes are most often thickish and elongate, sometimes a bit lumpy (usually not), and light in color. The cladodes may be yellowish green and the spines are usually pale white to yellowish in color. The spines are slender.  The areoles of this prickly pear cactus are relatively far apart on fruit and sometimes spineless.  It is found mostly in lower mountains in woodland or scrub, but sometimes it occurs in sagebrush areas. It grows in eastern California (rare), Nevada, western Utah, and perhaps into southern Idaho and southeastern Oregon.

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O. polyacantha “other varieties” (Engelmann & J.M. Bigelow) B.D. Parfitt

Opuntia polyacantha is a widespread species found from Canada and the northern Midwest to California and down the backside the Sierra Nevada mountains into Mexico. Some plants don’t fit into the varieties we describe and are worthy of more study. This prickly pear cactus is the most widespread Opuntia in the United states. 

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O. polyacantha garden plants

There are many naturally occurring O. polyacantha plants with especially beautiful flowers. Also, many garden plants have been created by hybridization. Many vendors sell Opuntia hybrids, including Rainbow Farms. There are Facebook pages devoted to hybrids such as Flower Mountain. Or you may write to Derrill Pope at mokee007@aol.com.

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