Key to Species

Spines flattened. Stems very stout.

Stems hardly clavate; ovary very prickly

Stems strictly clavate; ovary only slightly prickly

Stems more slender and weak.

Spines stout, white, when old very flat.

Bristles on ovary and fruit white

Bristles on ovary and fruit brown

Spines terete, elongated, and flexible, or the central ones somewhat flattened Flowers pinkish or purple.

Bristles on ovary numerous, brown

Bristles on ovary few, white

Flowers yellow.

Spines comparatively short, swollen at base

Spines long and flexible, not swollen at base

46. Opuntia invicta Brandegee, Proc. Calif. Acad. II. 2: 163. 1889.

Plants growing in large clusters 2 meters in diameter and 2 to 5 dm. high, with many ascending or spreading branches; joints obovoid to clavate, dark green, 8 to 10 cm. long, strongly tuberculate; tubercles large, flattened laterally, 3 to 4 cm. long; areoles large, 1 to 1.5 cm. in diameter; leaves linear, 8 to 14 mm. long, reddish, curved, acute, deciduous; spines very formidable, when young reddish or purple with carmine-red bases, chestnut-brown at tips and grayish between, but in age dull in color; radial spines 6 to 10; central spines 10 to 12, much stouter than the radials, strongly flattened; wool white; glochids few, white, 2 to 4 mm. long; flowers yellow, 5 cm. in diameter; sepals ovate, acuminate; ovary 2 cm. in diameter, almost hidden by the numerous reddish, acicular spines; seeds yellowish, 2 mm. broad.

Type locality: About San Juanico, Lower California.

Distribution: Central Lower California, at low elevations.

Mr. Brandegee has called attention to the strong resemblance in habit of this species to some of the species of Echinocereus, and Dr. Rose states that when he first saw it he supposed it to be some strange Echinocereus. It grows in great tufted masses and does not suggest in the remotest degree any of our North American opuntias. The species clearly belongs to Engelmann's series Clavatae, where it was placed by Schumann, who associated it with O. cereiformis, but it is undoubtedly much nearer to O. stanlyi. So far as we know, the plant has never been in the trade; it does not succeed well in cultivation. Considerable living material was brought back by the Albatross in 1911, most of which was sent to the New York Botanical Garden; but some of the plants were sent to collections at St. Louis, Washington, and Los Angeles.

Illustration: Cact. Journ. 1: February.

51. O. pulchella

53. O. bulbispina

54. O. grahamii

Plate xvi, figure 2, represents a plant collected by Dr. Rose at San Francisquito, Lower California, in 1911.

47. Opuntia stanlyi Engelmann in Emory, Mil. Reconn. 158. 1848.

Opuntia emoryi Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 303. 1856.

Opuntia kunzei Rose, Smiths. Misc. Coll. 50: 505. 1908.

Stems low, usually less than 3 dm. high, much branched, creeping, forming broad, impenetrable masses 2 to 3 meters in diameter; joints 10 to 15 cm. long, clavate, more or less curved, strongly tuberculate; tubercles 3 to 4 cm. long, flattened laterally, 4 to 6 cm. apart; spines numerous, stout, elongated, somewhat roughened, reddish brown, the larger ones strongly flattened, 3.5 to 6 cm. long; flowers yellow, 5 to 6 cm. broad; fruit ovate, clavate at base, yellow, 5 to 6 cm. long, very spiny, with a depressed umbilicus; seeds flattened, 4.5 to 6.5 mm. in diameter.

Type locality: On the del Norte and Gila, New Mexico.

Distribution: Southwestern New Mexico to eastern Arizona and adjacent Mexico.

O. stanlyi was first found October 22, 1846, by W. H. Emory on his first trip across the continent; he reported the plant as abundant on the Del Norte and Gila. There has been much speculation as to what this species is, for no specimens were preserved. Dr. George Engelmann, who named the species, based it upon a sketch made by the artist of the expedition, Mr. J. M. Stanly. By a reference to Emory's itinerary we find that on October 22, 1846, he was in southwestern New Mexico. In 1908 Dr. Rose visited this region where he collected the various species of cacti to be found there. The only plant which we know from that part of New Mexico which could represent O. stanlyi is Opuntia emoryi; this was the conclusion reached by Wooton and Standley, who, in their Flora of New Mexico, have restored the name O. stanlyi.

We have referred Opuntia kunzei here because recent specimens sent in by Dr. Kunze have taken on a phase very much like the true O. stanlyi. There is a possibility that O. kun-zei should be maintained, for we are not altogether convinced that certain material we have seen should be merged into O. stanlyi. To clear up this point, it is hoped that someone will collect and preserve a full series of specimens showing flowers, fruits, and seeds.

Illustrations: Emory, Mil. Reconn. App. 2. f. 9; Amer. Garden 11: 531?; Cact. Journ. 1: 154; Cact. Mex. Bound. pl. 70, 71, these last three as Opuntia emoryi; Hornaday, Campfires on Desert and Lava opp. p. 116, this as Opuntia kunzei.

Plate xiv, figure 3, represents a plant collected by Dr. R. E. Kunze near Gunsight Mountains, Arizona, in 1912; figure 4 shows a leaf-bearing joint of the same plant.

48. Opuntia schottii Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 304. 1856.

Prostrate, rooting from the areoles, forming dense clusters sometimes 2 or 3 meters in diameter; joints clavate, curved, ascending, easily breaking off, 6 to 7 cm. long, 2 cm. in diameter at thickest part, strongly tuberculate; leaves subulate, bronze-colored, 6 to 8 mm. long, acuminate; areoles 1 to 1.5 cm. apart; spines white and sheathed when young, soon brown, the larger ones sometimes as many as 12, very slender, sometimes 6 cm. long, somewhat flattened; wool white when young, turning brown; glochids white when young, turning brown, 4 mm. long or less; flowers yellow, 4 cm. long including ovary; sepals narrow, acuminate; petals acuminate; fruit yellow, narrowly oblong in outline, a little narrowed at base, 4 cm. long, closely set with areoles bearing numerous short spines, bristles, and white wool, the umbilicus depressed; seeds yellow, flattened, 4 mm. in diameter, notched at base.

Type locality: Arid soil near the mouth of the San Pedro and Pecos, western Texas.

Distribution: Southern and western Texas and northern Mexico.

Opuntia schottii greggii Engelmann (Cact. Mex. Bound. 68. pl. 73, f. 4. 1859), which came from near San Luis Potosí, Mexico, where it was collected by Dr. J. Gregg, in December 1848, is much out of the range of the normal form and probably belongs elsewhere; but no specimens have been examined except the type, which is fragmentary. Engelmann at first considered it a distinct species.

Figure 92 represents joints of a plant collected by Dr. Rose at Langtry, Texas, in 1908.

M. E. Eaton del.

1, 2. Parts of joints of Opuntia exaltata. 3. Upper part of joints of Opuntia macrarthra.

2. Upper part of joints of Opuntia tortispina. (All natural size.)

49. Opuntia clavata Engelmann in Wislizenus, Mem. Tour North. Mex. 95. 1848.

Plants low, not over 1.5 dm. high, much branched at base, spreading, forming large patches sometimes 2 meters in diameter; joints short, 3 to 7 cm. long, turgid, ascending, clavate; areoles close together; leaves subulate, 4 to 5 mm. long; spines pale, somewhat roughened, the radial ones 6 to 12, slender and acicular, 4 to 16 mm. long; central spines 4 to 7, much longer than the radials, more or less flattened, the largest one dagger-like; glochids numerous, yellowish, 3 to 5 mm. long; flowers yellow, 3.5 to 4 cm. long; fruit 4 to 5 cm. long, with numerous areoles filled with yellow, radiating glochids; seeds white, 5 mm. broad.

Type locality: Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Distribution: New Mexico, chiefly in the central part of the State.

This is one of the most characteristic species of the genus and has no near relative except O. parishii, of the deserts of California and Nevada. It is a great pest to grazing stock.

Illustrations: Bull. Agr. Exper. Station N. Mex. 78: pl. [1, 2], Pac. R. Rep. 4: pl. 22, f. 1 to 3; pl. 24, f. 6.

Figure 93 represents joints of a plant collected by W. T. H. Long at Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1915.

50. Opuntia parishii Orcutt, West Amer. Sci. 10: 81. 1896.

Stems low, creeping, rooting along the under surface and forming dense, broad clusters; terminal joints short, clavate, ascending but almost hidden under the dense armament; tubercles prominent but short, 5 to 7 mm. long; spines at first reddish but soon grayish and finally nearly white; radial spines numerous, slender; central spines about 4, strongly angled and more or less flattened, 2 to 4 cm. long; glochids numerous; flowers not known; fruit 5 cm. long, the numerous large areoles bearing many long yellow glochids and short spines forming a radiating band about the margin; seeds dark, 4 mm. broad.

Type locality: Mohave Desert.

Distribution: Southern California and Nevada.

The species here described is the Opuntia parryi as described by Engelmann in 1856, although he then suspected it was different from that species. It has been renamed Opuntia parishii by Orcutt, who wrote as follows:

"We propose this name for that interesting plant of the Mohave desert region, hitherto called O. parryi, and under which it has been well described. The Messrs. Parish have hardly earned this light honor in many laborious trips through these desert regions, and I take pleasure in dedicating this species to them; Opuntia parryi (type from San Felipe), along with bernardina and echinocarpa, and a bewildering host of nameless forms, I unhesitatingly class under serpentina!'

Illustrations: Cact. Journ. 1: 132; N. Amer. Fauna 7: pl. 10; Pac. R. Rep. 4: pl. 22, f. 4 to 7; pl. 24, f. 7, all as Opuntia parryi.

Figure 94 represents joints of a plant collected by S. B. Parish in southern California.

Fig. 92.—Opuntia schottii. X0.75.

51. Opuntia pulchella Engelmann, Trans. St. Louis Acad. 2: 201. 1863.

Low, 10 to 20 cm. high, densely branched, sometimes forming compact heads 6 dm. in diameter; main stem more or less definite, covered with areoles bearing yellow glochids 10 to 12 mm. long; lateral joints 5 to 6 cm. long, narrowly clavate, strongly tuberculate, purplish; areoles 6 to 8 mm. apart, 2 to 3 mm. broad; spines 10 to 16, slender, reddish, the longer ones 5 to 6 cm. long, somewhat flattened; flower 5 cm. long, when open, fully as broad; petals purple, 3 cm. long; ovary 2 cm. long, bearing numerous areoles filled with white wool and purple glochids 10 to 12 mm. long; fruit about 2.5 cm. long; seeds (according to Coulter) thick and round, 4 mm. in diameter, with broad flat commissure.

Type locality: Sandy deserts on Walker River, Nevada.

Distribution: Nevada and Arizona.

The plant was first collected by Henry Engelmann in 1859, and brought to his brother, Dr. George Engelmann. The species does not succeed well in cultivation under glass.

Illustration: Simpson's Rep. pl. 3.

Figure 95 is from an herbarium specimen collected by Thomas H. Means at Fallon, Churchill County, Nevada, in 1909.

Fig. 94.—Opuntia parishii. X0.66. Fig. 95.—Opuntia pulchella. X0.66.

52. Opuntia vilis Rose, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: 293. 1909.

Low, creeping, often forming mats several meters in diameter and only 10 to 15 cm. high; joints prostrate, becoming erect or ascending, the ultimate vertical ones clavate, 5 cm. long, the others 2 to 4 cm. long, very turgid, pale green, with low tubercles; leaves terete, 2 to 3 mm. long, acute, red; young areoles bearing white wool; radial spines upward of 12, the number increasing with age by the addition of very small whitish ones; central spines on prostrate joints 4, reddish, white-tipped, 1 to 4 cm. long, terete, slightly scabrous, with a sheath 5 mm. long, those of clavate joints white, reddish on the upper surface at the base, and along the whole of the lower surface flattened; flowers 4 cm. long; petals brilliant purplish, 2 cm. long; filaments bright yellow with green bases; style white; stigma-lobes yellow; fruit pale green, blackening in drying, 2 to 2.5 cm. in diameter, 2.5 to 3 cm. long, tuberculate, especially about the margin of the umbilicus, spiny, fluted above, somewhat dry, with large white seeds.

Type locality: Foot-slopes and plains of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Distribution: State of Zacatecas, Mexico.

Illustrations: Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 12: pl. 27; f. 36.

Figure 96 is from a photograph of the type plant taken by F. E. Lloyd in Zacatecas,

Mexico, in 1907.

Fig. 96.—Opuntia vilis.

53. Opuntia bulbispina Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 304. 1856.

Stems low, forming wide-spreading clumps 6 to 12 dm. broad; joints ovoid in outline, 2 to 2.5 cm. long by 10 to 12 mm. in diameter; tubercles prominent, 6 to 8 mm. long; radial spines 8 to 12, acicular, 3 to 6 mm. long; central spines 4, much stouter than the radials, 8 to 12 mm. long, bulbose at base; flower and fruit not described in original description and as yet unknown.

Type locality: Near Perros Bravos, north of Saltillo, Mexico.

Distribution: Coahuila and probably into Durango, Mexico.

The type of this species was collected by Josiah Gregg in 1848 and it has not with certainty been found since; it has been reported from one or two localities, but doubtless erroneously. At one time we supposed certain plants collected by Dr. Palmer in Chihuahua were to be thus referred. It is possible that specimens collected by Dr. Chaffey near Lerdo, Durango, may be referred here, as they have the short joints of this species, but the central spines are much longer, often reaching 2.5 to 3.5 cm. long. The type is deposited in the Engelmann Herbarium at St. Louis, and although the material is poor, it may yet serve to clear up this species definitely.

As stated by Coulter, this species has been regarded as the same as O. tunicata, a plant to which it is very remotely related.

Figure 97 is copied from the illustration above cited.

Fig. 97.—Opuntia bulbispina.

54. Opuntia grahamii Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3:

304. i856.

Roots at first thick and fleshy, becoming woody, 2 cm. thick or more; plant low, much branched, spreading, forming low mounds often half buried in the sand, sometimes giving off roots at the areoles; terminal joints erect, clavate, bright green, 3 to 5 cm. long, with large oblong tubercles; leaves thick, bronze-colored, ovate, acute, 3 to 4 mm. long; areoles about 3 mm. broad; wool white; spines 8 to 15, slender, slightly scabrous, terete or some of the larger ones slightly compressed, white when young, soon reddish, the longest 3.5 to 6 cm. long; glochids numerous, slender, 4 mm. long or less, white,

Fig. 97.—Opuntia bulbispina.

turning brown, persistent on the old stems; flowers yellow, 5 cm. broad; sepals ovate, acute, about 5 mm. long; fruit oblong to ovoid, 3 to 4.5 cm. long, its numerous areoles bearing white glochids and some slender spines; seeds beakless, 5 to 5.5 mm. in diameter, the commissure indistinct, linear.

Type locality: Near El Paso, Texas.

Distribution: Western Texas, New Mexico, and adjacent parts of Mexico.

This species was named for James Duncan Graham, Colonel, Corps of Engineers, United States Army, who died December 28, 1865, at Boston, Massachusetts. Colonel Graham was for a time chief of the scientific corps of the United States and Mexican Boundary Commission, and caused the specimens of this plant to be transmitted to Dr. Fig. 98.—Opuntia grahamii. xo.75.

George Engelmann.

The plant succeeds rather well in cultivation under glass.

Illustrations: Cact. Mex. Bound. pl. 72; Schumann, Gesamtb. Kakteen f. 102.

Figure 98 represents joints of a plant collected by Dr. Rose on hills near Sierra Blanca, Texas, in 1913.


Includes all the South American species of Opuntia which have short, oblong, or globular joints. It is hardly to be distinguished from the North American series Clavatae. Four series are recognized. The plants are confined to Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and Argentina. (See key to series, p. 44.)


Plants low, forming dense clumps; joints subcylindric, strongly tuberculate and bearing numerous spines. This series suggests Platyopuntia, while the other series show closer relationship with the Cylindropuntia. Only one species known, inhabiting the dry part of northern Argentina.

55. Opuntia weberi Spegazzini, Anal. Mus. Nac. Buenos Aires III. 4: 509. 1905.

Densely cespitose, forming clumps 2 to 3 dm. in diameter and 10 to 18 cm. high; joints yellowish green, erect, cylindric, strongly tuberculate, 2 to 6 cm. long, 1.5 to 2 cm. in diameter,

Fig. 99.—Opuntia weberi as it grows wild.

densely spiny; leaves described as wanting; tubercles spirally, arranged, obtuse, somewhat 4-angled, 5 to 6 mm. broad; areoles somewhat depressed; spines 5 to 7, brown, 3 to 5 cm. long, flexuous, the upper ones erect; flowers borne near the top of the plant, small, solitary; ovary, somewhat woolly below and with short spines above; flower rotate, yellow; fruit dry, white, 10 mm. in diameter; seeds somewhat contorted, bony, glabrous.

Type locality: In Sierra Pie de Palo, Province of San Juan, Argentina.

Distribution: Mountains of Provinces of San Juan and Salta, Argentina.

This description, though largely drawn from Dr. Spegazzini's full account of this species, has been amplified from examination made of the type. Dr. Spegazzini refers it to the

Fig. 100.—Opuntia weberi. Natural size.

subgenus Tephrocactus, and we have followed him in this; but it differs widely from any other known species of that group and its true affinity may be elsewhere. If the plant is leafless, as Dr. Spegazzini's description implies, this is a most interesting exception to the character of Opuntia.

Figure 99 is from a photograph of the plant at Molinos, Argentina; figure 100 is from a photograph of the type specimen in the collection of Dr. Spegazzini, to whom we are indebted for both of these illustrations.

Series 2. FLOCCOSAE.

Low plants, forming dense clumps or mounds; joints short, thick, and fleshy, usually covered with long, white, silky hairs. The two species are common in the high valleys of the Andes of Peru and Bolivia.

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Building Your Own Greenhouse

Building Your Own Greenhouse

You Might Just End Up Spending More Time In Planning Your Greenhouse Than Your Home Don’t Blame Us If Your Wife Gets Mad. Don't Be A Conventional Greenhouse Dreamer! Come Out Of The Mould, Build Your Own And Let Your Greenhouse Give A Better Yield Than Any Other In Town! Discover How You Can Start Your Own Greenhouse With Healthier Plants… Anytime Of The Year!

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment