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CACTACEAE CACTUS FAMILY

Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree, generally fleshy. Stem: cylindric to spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (grooved); nodal areoles bearing flowers. Leaf: generally 0 or early-deciduous, flat to ± cylindric. Spines: areoles generally with central, radial spines, occasionally with glochids. Flower: generally 1 per areole, bisexual [unisexual], sessile, radial [bilateral]; perianth parts generally many [5], scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary inferior [superior], style 1, stigma lobes generally several [many]. Fruit: dry to fleshy or juicy, indehiscent to variously dehiscent, spiny, scaly, or naked; tubercled or smooth. Seed: generally many, occasionally 0–few.
± 125 genera, ± 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. [Parfitt & Gibson 2004 FNANM 4:92–257] Spines smaller, fewer (0) in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Introduced species increasingly escape cultivation. Hybridization common in some genera. Taxa of Escobaria in TJM (1993) moved to Coryphantha. —Scientific Editors: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Unabridged references: [Hunt 2006 The New Cactus Lexicon, DH Books, Milborne Port, England]

Key to Cactaceae

OPUNTIA PRICKLY-PEAR
Shrub, tree; roots fibrous [tuberous]. Stem: generally erect, < 6 [12] m; segments generally flat (± cylindric), generally firmly attached; tubercles 0 to ± developed; ribs 0. Leaf: small, conic, fleshy, deciduous, present on young stems, ovaries. Spines: 0–many per areole, cylindric or flat, tip smooth or barbed, epidermis persistent; glochids generally many. Fruit: juicy, fleshy or dry; wall thick, bearing areoles; spiny or not. Seed: in a bony, ± white aril.
± 150 species: America; Opuntia ficus-indica cultivated for food, others for ornamental. (Possibly from Papago Indian name ("opun") for this food plant; or for a spiny plant of Opus, Greece) Spines smaller, fewer in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Spineless stems, ovaries, and fruit generally with glochids, these occasionally long, conspicuous; hybridization common. Taxa with cylindric to club-shaped stems moved to Cylindropuntia, Grusonia.

Key to Opuntia

Previous taxon: Mammillaria tetrancistra
Next taxon: Opuntia basilaris

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on Oct 25 2014
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Opuntia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=Opuntia, accessed on Oct 25 2014

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