TRIBE II. OPUNTIEAE

OPUNTIA. The genus is a large one and includes both small and large types. The stems are jointed and the joints may be flat, cylindrical, clavate, or globose, bearing areoles and glochids. Many of the Opuntias have rudimentary leaves on the new growth, but these disappear with increasing age. Opuntias are not difficult plants to grow and should be potted in a mixture of 3 parts loam, 2 parts silver sand, and 1 part leaf-mould, to which is added z parts broken brick and a half part old mortar rubble. Opuntia salmiana. S. Brazil, Paraguay, and N.

America. One of the few Opuntias which will flower fairly readily in our collections. Areoles small, but have many glochids and 3 to 5 yellowish spines. Flowers, numerous, yellowish passing to reddish.

Opuntia cylindrica. Ecuador and Peru. An easy species to grow. Joints cylindrical, and the young growth produces cylindrical leaves which soon drop off. Areoles whitish, and spines whitish, 2 to 3 in number. Flowers, red. A cristate form is also in cultivation.

Opuntia vestita. Bolivia. Stems erect or sprawling; rudimentary leaves persisting for some time; areoles round, yellowish, with long white glochids; spines number 4 to 8. Associated with many long, white hairs, which almost entirely cover the stem. Prefers half shade. Some beautiful cristate forms are in cultivation.

Opuntia floccosa. Peru and Bolivia. Stems sprawling, and coloured grass-green. Areoles large, with 1 to 3 yellow spines, which are straight and slender, and many pure white woolly curly hairs, which cover the plant. Flowers, yellow. This plant requires all the sunshine possible. A cristate form is also in cultivation. Central Mexico, Ecuador and N. Chile. A sun-loving species, one of the most interesting of the cylindrical Opuntias, very spiny. Spines reddish and concealed in thin white papery sheaths; flowers, yellow.

Opuntia Bigelovii. Cylindrical joints thick; areoles round, white, with yellow glochids; spines numerous with 6 to 10 radials and 6 to 10 centrals; flowers purplish.

Opuntia spinosior. N. Mexico, New

Mexico and Arizona. Joints dark green, warty; spines numerous, 8 to 12, and increasing in number up to 30 as growth matures; flowers variable, white, yellow, reddish, or purple.

Opuntia fulgida. Mexico and Arizona. Areoles small, with yellowish or white glochids; spines 10 or more, sheathed; flowers, pink.

Opuntia clavarioides. Chile. A low-growing plant with joints greyish-brown, cylindrical or conical; areoles small and closely set, with 4 to 10 short white hair-like spines. A plant that rarely flowers. Usually grown as a graft on other species of Opuntia.

Opuntia verschafjeltii. Bolivia. Stem and joints cylindrical with leaves which persist for a long time. The flowers are beautiful, deep red and orange; the areoles whitish with yellow glochids and I to 3 white slender flexible spines. The plant is a slow grower and is often found in collections.

Opuntia ramosissima. Mexico, California, Nevada and Arizona. Joints slender, grey, and widely spreading. The thin-looking stems often branch on top in the shape of a cross. The areoles are often spineless, but more usually have 1 spine to each. Flowers, greenish-yellow. In its native habitat it grows on dry hillsides. There is also a pretty cristate form in cultivation.

Opuntia leptocaulis. Mexico, Texas and Arizona. An interesting plant for the beginner. The glochids are abundant and there are 1 to 2 brown spines in a reddish-yellow sheath. There are numerous varieties of this plant. Var. brevispina is free flowering.

Opuntia Kleinae. Mexico and Texas. Areoles white, glochids yellowish passing to brown, with usually only I spine on each areole, but sometimes 2 to 4 smaller ones are to be found. Flowers, pale pink, brownish outside.

Opuntia microdasys. N. Mexico. Erect, bushy, with oval flattened joints. The areoles are conspicuous with a prominent rounded large tuft of yellow glochids, and sometimes one short yellow spine. This plant seldom flowers in cultivation, but it is most attractive and should be included in all collections. There are a few varieties, all of which are interesting, particularly var. albispina which fortunately is easy to grow and very beautiful. The joints in this plant are rather small and the areoles and glochids are silvery-white. Var. pallida has largerjoints with pale yellow areoles and glochids.

Opuntia rufida. N. Mexico and Texas. A very desirable plant with joints of a dark greyish-green, elongated, and slightly thicker than O. microdasys. The areoles are large, the glochids chocolate-brown; the spines are absent. It is a plant that grows well in cultivation.

Opuntia azurea. The joints are large and round, bluish-grey. The yellowish areoles bear brown or yellowish spines.

Opuntia polyantha. West Indies. A much-branched low bush. The joints are yellowish-green, with white areoles bearing numerous glochids and 5 to 8 yellowish-brown spines. Flowers, pale yellow.

Opuntia elata. Paraguay. A tall, erect plant, with elongated green joints. The areoles are well separated, large, with whitish wool. Spines are absent on the young joints; flowers, orange-yellow.

Opuntia santa-rita. Texas, California, and Arizona. This plant is quite spineless with large reddish- brown areoles, tufted with brown glochids. The joints are a rather bluish green. A very beautiful species, well worthy of cultivation.

Opuntia versicolor. Mexico and Arizona. A beautiful species, the flowers of which are very variable, from greenish-yellow, reddish to brown; there are 5 to 12 spines, sheathed.

Opuntia Scheerii. Mexico. Very attractive low, greyish-green plants with large oval joints. The areoles and glochids are yellowish-brown. Spines number 8 to 12 and are slender, golden yellow, with many pale yellow hairs. Flower, sulphur yellow.

Opuntia diademata. Sometimes grown as O. papyracantha. Joints oval, thick at the base, at first brownish-green passing to greyish-green; 1 to 4 spines. Flowers, pale yellow. A most interesting species, well worth growing.

Opuntia subulata. Chile and Argentina. In this plant the leaves are very persistent. The glochids are few and yellowish, and there are 1 or 2 pale yellow spines which are straight and strong. The plant bears large red flowers.

Opuntia ficus-indica. Widely distributed in tropical America. In its native land it is often grown for its fruits, and for forage for animals. The joints are smooth when young, and quite smooth when fully developed. The spines are almost absent; the areoles whitish, with small yellow glochids. There are numerous varieties of this species producing fruits varying in colour from white or yellow to bright crimson.

Opuntia engelmanii. Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. A widely spreading bush, branched from the ground, with oval, elongated or roundish joints. The rather large, whitish areoles bear many brown, yellow-pointed glochids and, in the middle and upper areoles, 6 to 10 spines which are white and reddish or brownish at the base. Flower, yellow. This is a very variable species.

Opuntia bergeriana. The natural habitat of this plant is not known, but it flourishes on the Italian Riviera. It is easy to grow. The flowers are deep red with pink stamens, a white style and stigma with 6 green lobes. The areoles are greyish with yellow glochids and 2 or 3 awl-shaped spines, yellow passing to grey.

Opuntia basilaris. N. Mexico and California, to Nevada, Arizona and Utah. A beautiful and most popular species. The grey-green pads sometimes turn pinkish-purple, and are thick and fan-shaped, springing from a common base. They bear no spines, but the glochids set closely over the surface belie their soft velvety look. The flowers are a lovely pale pink or carmine.

Opuntia leucotricha. Mexico. Frequently seen in amateur collections. The plant is covered with very short, greyish, velvety hair. Joints, oval. The white areoles bear yellowish glochids, and I to 3 white spines, later increasing in number; along with these there are numerous hair-like flexible white spines almost entirely covering the surface of the joints. The flowers are deep yellow, with white stamens and a deep red style and stigma, with 6 green lobes.

Opuntia erinacea. California, Arizona, Utah and Nevada. A more or less erect bushy plant, with elongated joints which are thick, flat or almost cylindrical; deep green, with closely set small and somewhat prominent white areoles. There are few glochids, but numerous spreading, slender and flexible spines. The plant is often called the “grizzly bear” because of its very shaggy appearance.

Opuntia Rafinesquei. Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas and Tennessee. A popular plant for the beginner. The oval, elongated joints are thin and flat; the areoles are far apart and bear brown glochids; the spines are absent or borne only on marginal areoles, when they number I to 3; the plant bears numerous sulphur-yellow flowers, which are reddish at the base of the petals.

Opuntia monacantha. S. Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina. Grows to almost treelike proportions, with a thick stem. Joints oval, and shining green. The areoles are far apart with 1 brown spine, or sometimes 2 or 3 spines on top joints. Flower, deep yellow, with the outer petals reddish at the base. There is a very pretty variety, O. monacantha variegata, which has smaller joints, beautifully marbled with white or yellow, and should be represented in all collections.

Opuntia robusta. Mexico. A strong-growing variety with the joints slightly oval, thick, and greyish-green with a fine bluish hue. The areoles are brownish, the upper ones bearing 2 to 12 thick yellow spines, brown at the base, but passing to white. Flowers yellow. In cultivation it is not rare to find that the spines have disappeared completely. A very desirable species and easy to grow.

NOPALEA. These are tall plants, almost tree-like, but bearing afew glochids. The flowers are red, differing from those of Opuntia in that the segments of the perianth are erect, and form a sort of a tube, the stamens protruding and always longer than the petals.

Nopalea coccinellifera. Tropical Mexico. This plant has ascending and spreading branches. The areoles are far apart, with numerous yellow glochids; the spines are absent or small. The flower is a lovely red with pink stamens. A very desirable beginner s plant.

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