|Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange|
|TREATMENT FROM THE JEPSON MANUAL (1993)||
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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California
AND IS MAINTAINED FOR ARCHIVAL PURPOSES ONLY
Perennial, shrub, tree, generally fleshy
Stem cylindric, spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (fluted); nodal areoles bear flowers, generally bear spines from center ("central spines") and margin ("radial spines") (Opuntia areoles bear small, barbed, deciduous bristles sometimes called glochids, generally also bear spines)
Leaf generally 0
Flower generally solitary, bisexual, sessile, ± radial; perianth parts generally many, grading from scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary appearing inferior, ± submerged in stem, so generally with areoles on surface, style 1, stigma lobes generally many
Fruit generally fleshy, generally indehiscent, spiny, scaly, or smooth
Genera in family: 93 genera, ± 2000 species: especially Am deserts; many cultivated
Etymology: (Greek: thorny plant)
Reference: [Benson 1982 Cacti of US & Can; Hunt & Taylor eds 1990 Bradleya 8:85107]
Shrubs, trees; roots fibrous
Stem generally erect, < 12 m; segments flat to cylindric, generally firmly attached; tubercles generally elongate along stem; ribs sometimes present; spines 0many, sometimes flat, tip smooth or barbed, epidermis persistent or separating as a papery sheath; small, barbed deciduous bristles generally many
Leaf small, conic, fleshy, deciduous, obvious on young stems and ovaries
Fruit juicy, fleshy or dry; wall thick, bearing areoles
Seed dark brown, encased in a bony, whitish aril
Species in genus: 200 species: Am; O. ficus-indica cultivated for food, others for ornamental
Etymology: (Possibly from Papago Indian name ("opun") for this food plant; or named for a spiny plant of Opus, Greece)
Spines smaller, fewer in shade forms; when yellow, blacken with age.
Hybridization common within subgenera.
Stem generally < 1 m; lower branches generally decumbent, upper spreading to ascending; segments flat, 1525 cm, generally obovate; spines 312 in all areoles, longest 45 cm, straight, spreading from areole, ± appressed to stem, ± flat, yellow, coated chalky white, base often red-brown
Flower: inner perianth 45 cm, yellow; filaments white; style white, stigma yellow-green to green
Fruit 46.5 cm, juicy, red-purple throughout; areoles 2032
Seed 46 mm
Ecology: Uncommon in CA. Desert scrub, dry oak woodland, etc.
Elevation: 9001500 m.
Bioregional distribution: San Jacinto Mountains, Desert Mountains
Distribution outside California: to Nevada, Texas, Mexico
Synonyms: O. phaeacantha var. discata (Griffiths) L.D. Benson & Walkington
Hybridizes with O. phaeacantha.
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY, SUN: 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21.