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Opuntia
PRICKLY-PEAR

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CactaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: CACTUS FAMILY
Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: +- 125 genera, +- 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.

Opuntia
Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: +- 150 species: America; Opuntia ficus-indica cultivated for food, others for ornamental. Etymology: (Possibly from Papago Indian name ("opun") for this food pl; or for a spiny plant of Opus, Greece) Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt
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Key to Opuntia

Previous taxon: Mammillaria tetrancistra
Next taxon: Opuntia basilaris

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Citation for this treatment: Bruce D. Parfitt 2016. Opuntia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=10641, accessed on February 07, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/IJM.html, accessed on February 07, 2016.


Opuntia basilaris var. treleasei
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Opuntia basilaris var. brachyclada
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© 2009 Thomas Stoughton
Opuntia polyacantha var. hystricina
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© 2014 California Academy of Sciences
Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea
click for enlargement
© 2009 Neal Kramer
Opuntia basilaris var. treleasei
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© 2011 Keir Morse
Opuntia basilaris var. treleasei
click for enlargement
© 2011 Keir Morse

More photos of Opuntia in CalPhotos