Key to Species

Bushy or arborescent species, 6 dim high or higher. Tubercles narrowly oblong, 1 cm. long or more.

Joints readily detached 8. O. vivipara

Joints not readily detached.

Longer spines 2.5 cm. long or longer.

Flowers orange to scarlet 9. O. tetracantha

Flowers purple 10. O. recondita

Spines 2 cm. long or less 11. O. thurberi

Tubercles low, oblong, 6 to 8 mm. long 12. O. clavellina

D epressed species, 6 dm. high or less.

Spines yellow or brown; flowers green or tinged with yellow.

Spines yellow, up to 5 cm. long; petals 1 to 1.5 cm. long 13. O. davisii

Spines brown, 2.5 cm. long or less; petals 2 to 2.5 cm. long 14. O. viridiflora

Spines white; flowers yellow 15. O. whipplei

8. Opuntia vivipara Rose, Smiths. Misc. Coll. 52: 153. 1905.

Plant 2 to 3.5 meters high, usually several strong branches from the base, 8 to 10 cm. in diameter, much branched above, but not compactly so; old stems with rather smooth bark; young branches bluish green, slender, 1 to 2 cm. long, 10 to 12 mm. in diameter; tubercles low, oblong, i to 20 mm. long;, areoles when young bearing a dense cushion of yellow wool with few or no glochids; spines i to 4, 2 cm. long or less, porrect or ascending, covered with straw-colored sheaths; leaves small, terete, acutish, purple; flowers numerous, borne in clusters at the top of the branches, purplish; ovary strongly tuberculate, bearing white deciduous bristles; fruit oblong, 4 to 6 cm. long, smooth, with a somewhat depressed umbilicus, yellowish green, spineless; seeds white, very thick, 5 mm. long.

Type locality: Near Tucson, Arizona.

Distribution: Known only from type locality.

The relationship of this species is doubtful; it resembles certain garden forms of O. tetracantha, but differs from typical forms of that species in its much larger fruit and seeds, different armament, and habit. The type grew associated with O. spinosior and O. versicolor, but there is no indication that it is the result of hybridization of those species.

Illustrations: Smiths. Misc. Coil. 52: pl. 12; Plant World 1110: f. 12.

Plate vii, figure 2, represents a branch drawn by L. C. C. Krieger at the Desert Botanical Laboratory, Tucson, Arizona; plate viii, figure 1, is from a photograph of the type plant taken by Dr. MacDougal in ic

1. Type plant of Opuntia vivipara, near Tucson, Arizona

2. A much-branched plant of Opuntia versicolor..

9. Opuntia tetracantha Toumey, Gard. and For. 9: 432. 1896.

Low bush, 5 to 15 dm. high, branching; central stem woody, 5 to 8 cm. in diameter; young joints 23 to 30 cm. long, 10 to 15 mm. in diameter, purplish; tubercles at first prominent, elongated, 16 to 22 mm. long; areoles bearing wool, light brown glochids, prominent glands and spines; spines 3 to 6, usually 4, slender, somewhat deflexed, 2 to 3.5 cm. long; flowers greenish purple, 1.5 to 2 cm. broad; fruit 2 to 2.5 cm. long, yellowish orange to "scarlet," nearly smooth, but rarely bearing a few spines, deeply umbilicate; seeds 3 to 5 cm. broad, with irregular faces and a thick, spongy commissure.

Type locality: Five miles east of Tucson, Arizona.

Distribution: Known only from the region about Tucson, Arizona.

The species was originally compared by Mr. Toumey with O. thurberi, with which he thought it to be closely associated, but differing in "its longer, more strongly deflexed spines, smaller and different-colored flowers."

The type specimen was not indicated, but Toumey's own plant, collected in 1895, which was recently purchased by the U. S. National Herbarium, is doubtless the type.

Plate ix, figure 1, shows a joint painted by L. C. C. Krieger at the Desert Botanical Laboratory, Tucson, Arizona.

10. Opuntia recondita Griffiths, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 23: 131. 1913.

"A stout broad-branched shrub, 1 to 1.5 meters in height; trunk cylindric, 4 to 7 cm. in diameter, with constrictions corresponding to each year's growth, with gray bark, and having a few lateral, easily detachable, weakly spined joints about 10 cm. long, the remaining joints being 20 to 30 cm. long, very spiny, in the second year about 2 cm. in diameter, tuberculate; tubercles forming a ridge, flattening out below, above extending precipitously, about 2 to 5 cm. long, 5 to 6 mm. wide, and 4 to 5 mm. high, remaining recognizable three years, and then disappearing; areoles broadly obovate, 5 to 6 mm. in the longest diameter, in age becoming larger and more prominent, forming new wool for several years; glochids yellow, in a thick 3 mm. long cluster on the upper part of the areole, also smaller clusters on the other parts of the areole, mostly at the base of the longest and most central spine; spines first 2 to 4, later 6 to 8 or 10, upright, spreading, 2 5 to 5 cm. long, in cross-section weakly circular, gray at the base, becoming deep reddish brown at the tips, surrounded the entire length by a loose, comparatively bright sheath; between the spines are scattered a few dirty-black, sheathless bristles about 6 mm. long; leaves subulate, finely tipped, terete, 12 to 20 mm. long.

"Flowers bright purple, when open about 2.5 cm. in diameter; petals finely and irregularly serrate, inconspicuously but finely irregularly notched; sepals thick, triangular pointed, greenish purple; anthers greenish with purple tinge; pistil greenish at base, with purple tinge above; stigma-lobes 6, white; ovary obovoid, tuberculate, with small areoles, 2 mm. in diameter, short greenish brown glochids 1 to 2 mm. long, and 1 , 2, or 3 brown, caducous spines sheathed in part; fruit not deciduous, 3 to 3.5 by 2 to 2.4 cm., large, greenish yellow with a reddish tinge on the outermost side, only weakly tuberculate in the second year, with projecting brownish glochids 3 mm. long; seeds white, thick, mostly flat but often lightly angled with narrowly thickened edges, and often somewhat concave."

Type locality: La Perla, Mexico.

Distribution: Known only from type locality, and, to us, only from the description of which the above is a translation by Mr. Russell.

11. Opuntia thurberi Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 308. 1856.

Large bushy plants, 2 to 4 meters high; joints slender, elongated, 1.5 to 2.5 dm. long, 10 to 12 cm. in diameter; tubercles 1.5 to 2 cm. long, flattened laterally; leaves linear, 6 to 8 mm.

Fig. 63.—Opuntia thurberi. Natural size.

long, spreading; spines 3 to 5, short (10 to 12 mm. long), spreading, covered with thin, brown, papery sheaths, the lowest one stoutest; flowers 3.5 cm. broad, brownish; fruit 2 cm. to 3 cm. long, spineless; seeds nearly globular, 4 mm. in diameter.

Type locality: Bacuachi, Sonora, Mexico.

Distribution: Western coast of Mexico.

Opuntia thurberi has long been one of our least-known species. The type, which is but a fragment, has not been clearly associated with any recent collections, but we are disposed now to believe that specimens collected on the west coast of Mexico by Dr. Rose in 1910 belong here. If we are correct, it ranges from Sonora to Sinaloa, Mexico. It is sometimes associated with Opuntia versicolor in its northern range, but is not so stout and has fewer and longer spines.

Figure 63 is from a photograph of the type specimen.

12. Opuntia clavellina Engelmann in Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 444. 1896.

Plant 1 meter high or less, rather openly branched; ultimate joints slender, spreading or ascending, somewhat clavate, 5 to 10 cm. long, a little over 1 cm. in diameter; tubercles prominent, elongated; spines 3 to 6 in a cluster, very long, covered with loose straw-colored or brown sheaths, the central one much longer and porrect; flowers yellow; fruit clavate, short, tuberculate.

Type locality: Near Misión Purísima, Lower California.

Distribution: Interior of central Lower California.

The above description is based on the original one and on the type. If the plant illustrated as cited below belongs here, this is a very distinct species, which was referred, however, by Mrs. Brandegee to Opuntia molesta Brandegee.

Illustration: Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 16: pl. 129, A.

Of this series there is another peculiar Lower California species, perhaps nearest O. clavellina, but of different habit and spines. It also suggests O. tetracantha of Arizona. It was obtained first by Dr. Rose in 1911, but was without flowers or fruit. It may be characterized as follows:

Opuntia sp.

Stems slender (1 to 1.5 cm. in diameter), weak, often clambering over bushes, pale green in color, terete, pointed, 6 to 7 dm. long; areoles set on low tubercles, circular; chief spines 2 to 6, only slightly spreading, nearly equal, 1.5 to 2.5 cm. long, clothed with loose straw-colored sheaths (rose-colored when very young); accessory spines 3 or 4, almost bristle-like, borne from the lower parts of the areoles; glochids short, greenish when young, yellow in age; flowers and fruit not seen.

Collected by Dr. J. N. Rose on Cerralvo Island, off southern Lower California, April 19, 1911 (No. 16875), and also by Nelson and Goldman on the same island in 1906 (No. 7524).

13. Opuntia davisii Engelmann and Bigelow, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 305. 1856.

Plants low, 3 to 5 dm. high, much branched, their dense covering of straw-colored spines making them conspicuous objects in the landscape; terminal joints slender, 6 to 8 cm. long, about 1 cm. in diameter, strongly tuberculate; spines 6 to 12, unequal, the longest ones 4 to 5 cm. long, acicular, covered with thin sheaths; glochids numerous, yellow; flowers, including ovary, 3.5 cm. long; petals olive-green to yellow, broad, with rounded mucronate tips; ovary with large areoles bearing a few spines each; fruit 3 cm. long, somewhat tuberculate, naked; seeds not known.

Type locality: Upper Canadian, about Tucumcari Hills, near the Llano Estacado.

Distribution: Western Texas and eastern New Mexico.

For many years this plant was not collected and the name was confused with other species, so that at one time it was supposed to extend as far west as California. It is now believed to have a rather circumscribed range. It is first seen going west on the Texas & Pacific Railroad about Colorado, Texas.

The plant was named for Jefferson Davis, who was Secretary of War when Whipple's report was made.

Krieger del. 1, 6 Kako Morita del. 2 to 5

1. Joint of Opuntia tetracantha. 2 to 5. Flowering joints of Opuntia versicolor.

6. Proliferous fruit of Opuntia fulgida. (All natural size.)

Illustrations: Curtis's Bot. Mag. 108: pl. 6652; Pac. R. Rep. 4: pl. 16. Figure 64 is copied from the second illustration above cited.

14. Opuntia viridiflora sp. nov.

A low, round, bushy plant 30 to 60 cm, high; terminal joints 5 to 7 cm. long, 1.5 to 2 cm. thick, often quite fragile; areoles prominent, flattened from the sides; areoles circular, filled with short, yellow or dull-gray wool; spines 5 to 7, somewhat spreading, the longest ones 2 cm. long, dark brown in color; glochids numerous, very short, yellow; flowers at tips of branches in clusters of 3 to 8, 3.5 to 4.5 cm. long (including ovary), "green, tinged with red"; fruit strongly tuberculate, except for a few long, deciduous bristles, with a deep umbilicus; seeds smooth, white, 3 mm. broad.

Collected in the vicinity of Santa Fe, New Mexico, altitude about 2,225 meters, by Paul C. Standley, July 6, 1911 (No. 6493, type) and at the same locality by T. D. A. Cockerell in 1912, and by J. N. Rose in 1913 (No. 18776). It is quite common on the hills just north of Santa Fe about Fort Marcy, where it is one of the dominant plants, but it was not observed elsewhere in that region.

This species differs from Opuntia imbricata with which it is found, in its much lower stature, more bushy habit, in its branches, spines, and smaller, differently colored flowers, different fruit, and smaller seeds.

Figure 65 represents two joints of a specimen collected by Dr. Rose at the type locality in 1913.

15. Opuntia whipplei Engelmann and Bigelow, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 307. 1856.

Opuntia whipplei laevior Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 307. 1856.

Low, much branched, with long, fibrous roots; areoles prominent, flattened laterally, 10 to 15 cm. long, circular, filled with light-brown wool; glochids pale yellow, short; spines about 12,

Fig. 64.—Opuntia davisii. X0.5. Fig. 6 .—Opuntia viridiflora. X0.5.

the longest about 2 cm. long, dark brown, covered with lighter colored papery sheaths; flowers yellow, small (2 cm. broad); young ovary bearing brown spines in the axils of the leaves; fruit strongly tuberculate, spineless, 2.5 to 4 cm. long, with a deeply depressed umbilicus, sometimes with only one seed but usually many; seeds small, 4 cm. broad, smooth.

Type locality: About Zuni, New Mexico.

Distribution: Northern New Mexico and Arizona to southwestern Colorado and probably southern Utah. Also reported by Coulter in southern California, Lower California, and Sonora, but not to be expected there.

Figure 66 is copied from the illustration above cited.

Fig. 67.—Opuntia acanthocarpa in the foreground. Photograph by MacDougal.

Series 4. ECHINOCARPAE. Dry-fruited, rather stout-jointed, bushy or depressed species, the areoles bearing several spines, the flowers red, yellow, or yellowish. Four species, inhabiting the southwestern United States, Sonora, and Lower California.

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