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Opuntia phaeacantha
BROWN-SPINED 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.
Genus: OpuntiaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: PRICKLY-PEAR
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.

Opuntia phaeacantha Engelm.
NATIVE
Habit: Shrub. Stem: 0.3--1 m; branches decumbent to +- spreading; segments 11--30 cm, generally obovate; gray-green, glabrous. Spines: 1--4(6) per areole on distal 30--70% of segment, fewer proximally, largest 3--8 cm, generally flat, spreading, distal 1--2 red-brown near base, distally white or straw, smaller 1--3 +- reflexed, generally white or gray. Flower: inner perianth 3.5--4 cm, yellow, base red; filaments white; style white, stigma yellow-green to green. Fruit: 2.5--6.5 cm, juicy, red-purple; interior generally green; areoles 15--32. Seed: 3--6 mm. Chromosomes: 2n=66.
Ecology: Chaparral, Joshua-tree woodland, pinyon/juniper woodland; Elevation: 45--2220 m. Bioregional Distribution: SCoRO, SnBr, e PR, DMtns, DSon; Distribution Outside California: to South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Mexico. Flowering Time: May--Jul Note: Hybrids with Opuntia ficus-indica uncommon or rare; stabilized hybrids with Opuntia chlorotica in DMtns (New York Mountains, eastern San Bernardino Co.), southern Nevada, western Arizona called Opuntia ×curvispina Griffiths (2n=44).
Unabridged Note: According to David J. Keil (pers. comm.), on dunes of southwestern San Luis Obispo and northwestern Santa Barbara cos. (s CCo).
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt
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Citation for this treatment: Bruce D. Parfitt 2016. Opuntia phaeacantha, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_IJM.pl?tid=35305, accessed on December 07, 2016.

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


Opuntia phaeacantha
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© 2005 James M. Andre
Opuntia phaeacantha
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© 2010 California Academy of Sciences
Opuntia phaeacantha
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© 2008 Thomas Stoughton
Opuntia phaeacantha
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© 2012 James M. Andre
Opuntia phaeacantha
click for enlargement
© 2010 California Academy of Sciences
Opuntia phaeacantha
click for enlargement
© 2008 Thomas Stoughton

More photos of Opuntia phaeacantha in CalPhotos


Geographic subdivisions for Opuntia phaeacantha:
SCoRO, SnBr, e PR, DMtns, DSon;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.