Key to Species

Joints narrowly obovate.

Joints grayish green, densely velvety

Joints bright green, minutely puberulent

Joints broadly obovate

190. Opuntia tomentosa Salm-Dyck, Observ. Bot. 3: 8. 1822.

Cactus tomentosus Link, Enum. Hort. Berol. 2: 24. 1822. Opuntia oblongata Wendland in Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 161. 1837. Opuntia icterica Griffiths, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 23: 138. 1913.

Becoming 3 to 6 meters high or more, with a broad top and a smooth trunk 10 to 30 cm. in diameter; joints oblong to narrowly obovate, 10 to 20 cm. long, velvety pubescent, somewhat tuberculate when young; glochids yellow; spines usually wanting but sometimes 1 or more appear; flowers orange-colored, 4 to 5 cm. long; filaments white or rose-colored; style dark carmine, longer than the stamens; stigma-lobes 5 or 6, white; fruit ovoid, red, sweetish; seeds 4 mm. broad.

Fig. 212.—Opuntia tomentosa.

Type locality: Not cited; doubtless Mexico.

Distribution: Central Mexico and as an escape in Australia.

This species was first described from cultivated plants and has long been a favorite. When grown out of doors, as it is in Bermuda, it forms a large and conspicuous plant. It is usually nearly or quite spineless, but plants which come from the Valley of Mexico are often spiny.

According to J. H. Maiden, this plant had been sent to him under the unpublished name Opuntia lurida, and as O. pubescens.

Illustrations: Agr. Gaz. N. S. W. 23: pl. opp. 1028; Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 16: 121; De Candolle, Pl. Succ. Hist. 2: pl. 137 [A, B], this last as Cactus cochenillifer (fide Berger).

.190. O. tomentosa .191. O. tomentella . 192. O. guilanchi

Plate xxxin, figure 1, represents a fruiting joint of a plant raised from seeds received by the United States Department of Agriculture. Figure 212 is from a photograph of a plant near St. Georges, Bermuda, taken by Stewardson Brown in 1912.

191. Opuntia tomentella Berger, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 22: 147. 1912.

Bushy; joints obovate to oblong, 20 to 30 cm. long, 9 to 15 cm. broad, light green, somewhat shining, finely puberulent; areoles about 3 cm. apart, small; spines 1 or 2, acicular, white, short (7 to 10 mm. long), porrect, sometimes wanting; glochids few; flowers numerous, 5 to 6 cm. long; petals obovate, reddish yellow; filaments yellowish green; style rose-colored; stigma-lobes white; ovary tomentose, armed with numerous black glochids; fruit oblong, red, sour.

Type locality: In Guatemala.

Distribution: Guatemala.

This species was distributed by the late F. Eichlam, who sent plants both to Washington and to La Mortola, those sent to La Mortola being used by Mr. Berger for his description. The species is perhaps near the common Mexican species O. tomentosa, but does not grow so tall, and the tomentum is not so dense nor so soft.

Figure 213 represents a joint of a plant collected in Guatemala by F. Eichlam in 1909.

192. Opuntia guilanchi Griffiths, Rep. Mo. Bot. Gard. 19: 265. 1908.

Becoming 1.5 to 2 meters high, often with a distinct trunk 1.5 to 2.5 cm. in diameter; joints broadly obovate, 14 to 16 cm. wide, 20 to 24 cm. long, minutely pubescent; spines at first white, slightly flattened, the longest 2 cm. long; glochids light yellow; fruit subglobose, 4 cm. in diameter, pubescent, variously colored, aromatic.

Type locality: Near the city of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Distribution: Zacatecas, Mexico.


This series is restricted to a single species. Schumann grouped as Chaetophorae, O. leucotricha with O. ursina, the latter a species with similar long bristles on the stem but otherwise very different, it being dry-fruited. Opuntia leucotricha is characterized by its long, weak, hairlike or bristle-like spines on many of the joints, especially the stem and very old joints. The fruit of this plant is very different from that of related series in that the pulp is fragrant and does not come free from the rind when mature.

193. Opuntia leucotricha De Candolle, Mem. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 17: 119. 1828.

Opuntiafulvispina Salm-Dyck in Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 164. 1837.

Opuntia leucotricha fulvispina Weber in Schumann, Gesamtb. Kakteen Nachtr. 157. 1903.

Often 3 to 5 meters high, with a large top; trunk as well as the older joints covered with long white bristles; joints oblong to orbicular, 1 to 2 cm. long, pubescent; areoles closely set, the upper part filled with yellow glochids, the lower part at first with only 1 to 3 weak white spines; flowers, including ovary, 4 to 5 cm. long; petals yellow, broad; ovary with numerous areoles, the upper ones bearing long, bristly glochids (1 cm. long); style red; stigma-lobes green; fruit variable, 4 to 6 cm. long, white or red, the rind not easily coming off from the pulp, aromatic, edible.

Type locality: In Mexico.

Distribution: Central Mexico.

Opuntia erythrocentron Lemaire (Förster, Handb. Cact. 492. 1846) was given as a synonym of O. fulvispina.

Opuntia leucosticta Wendland (Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 167, 1837) probably belongs here.

Opuntia leucacantha Link and Otto (Salm-Dyck, Hort. Dyck. 362. 1834), published first in 1834—although the name occurs in literature as early as 1830 (Verh. Ver. Beförd. Gar-

IG. 213

Opuntia tomentella. X0.4.

IG. 213

Opuntia tomentella. X0.4.



1. Upper part of joint of Opuntia leptocarpa. 2, 3. Flowering joint and branch of Opuntia brasiliensis.

2. Joint of Grusonia bradtiana. (All natural size.)

tenb. 6: 434. 1830)—which was later taken up as Consolea leucacantha by Lemaire (Rev. Hort. 1862: 174. 1862), seems to belong here rather than to O. spinosissima. If it came from Mexico, as reported, it could not be O. spinosissima or any of its relatives, for none of them is known from Mexico.

Opuntia subferox Schott (Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 167. 1837) was given as a synonym of this species, while O. leucacantha laevior Salm-Dyck (Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1844. 47. 1845) and O. leucacantha subferox Salm-Dyck (Förster, Handb. Cact. 497. 1846) were supposed to be based on O. subferox.

Opuntia leucantha (De Candolle, Prodr. 3: 474. 1828), unpublished, is doubtless the same as O. leucacantha.

Fig. 214.—Opuntia leucotricha.

Opuntia fulvispina laevior Salm-Dyck (Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 164. 1837) and O. fulvispina badia Salm-Dyck (Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849. 65. 1850) are given as synonyms of O. leucotricha; while O. rufescens Salm-Dyck (Förster, Handb. Cact. 493. 1846) is given as a synonym of fulvispina laevior, all these seem to belong here.

This is called durasnilla in Mexico. It is grown in Bermuda under the name of Aaron's Beard.

Illustrations: Engler and Prantl, Pflanzenfam. 36a: f. 56, J; N. Mex. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull. 60: pl. 4, f. 1, 2.

Plate xxxiv, figure 1, represents a flowering joint of a plant in the collection of the New York Botanical Garden. Figure 214 is from a photograph of a plant grown from a cutting received from the collection of M. Simon, St. Ouen, Paris, France, in 1901.


We have retained the series Criniferae, although changing its name to Orbiculatae, but we have excluded O. scheeri, which was placed here by Schumann. The species are characterized by long hairs produced from the areoles. The species retained in the series are not closely related; while others, like O. macrocentra, in other series, sometimes produce long hairs from the areoles in the seedling stage, and O. hyptiacantha and some other species have a few hairs at the areoles of mature joints.

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