Key to Species

Spines dark; plants low, prostrate 225. O. stenopetala

Spines white; plants erect. Joints narrow; spines acicular 226. O. glaucescens

Joints broader; spines stouter 227. O. grandis

225. Opuntia stenopetala Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 289. 1856.

Low bushy plant, often forming thickets, the main branches procumbent and resting on the edges of the joints; joints obovate to orbicular, 1 to 2 dm. long, grayish green, but often more

Fig. 245.—Opuntia stenopetala.

or less purplish, very spiny; areoles often remote, 1 to 3 cm. apart, the lower ones often without spines, bearing white wool when young; leaves only on young joints, spreading, dark red, about 2 mm. long; spines usually reddish brown to black, but sometimes becoming pale, usually 2 to 4, the longest ones 5 cm. long, the larger ones somewhat flattened; glochids very abundant on young joints, brown; flowers direcious, small, including the ovary only 3 cm. long; petals orange-red, very narrow, 10 to 12 mm. long, with long acuminate tips; filaments short; style very thick in the middle, the male flowers with an abortive, pointed style, but female flowers with 8 or 9 yellow stigma-lobes on style; ovary leafy, the upper leaves similar to the sepals; fruit globular, 3 cm. in diameter, acid, naked or spiny; seeds small, smooth, 3 mm. in diameter, with broad, rounded margins.

Type locality: On battlefield of Buena Vista, south of Saltillo, Mexico.

Distribution: In States of Coahuila to Queretaro and Hidalgo, central Mexico.

Referred by Schumann to O. glaucescens, but surely a distinct species, as indicated by Berger (Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 14: 171. 1904).

Although in its habit this Opuntia is much like many others, its flowers are unique, the petals being very narrow and erect; it is a very beautiful plant, and at flowering time is covered with numerous, small, beautiful flowers. Dr. Griffiths states that it is one of the most valuable ornamental opuntias, and that it is hardy in southern California.

Illustrations: Cact. Mex. Bound. pl. 66; Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 14: 172. f. 1.

Figure 248 is from a photograph of a fruiting joint of a specimen collected by Dr. Edward Palmer near Saltillo, Mexico, in 1905; figure 249 is copied from the illustration first above cited.

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