Opuntia calmalliana Coulter


"Habit and height unknown; joints cylindrical, 1 to 2 cm. in diameter, glaucous, with linear-oblong crested (mostly distinct) tubercles 20 to 25 mm. long; pulvini densely covered with yellowish wool, and with a penicillate tuft of whitish bristles at upper edge; spines usually 4, the upper one stout and porrect, reddish with yellowish tip (as are all the spines), 2 to 2.5 cm. long (occasionally 1 to 2 short upper ones added), the usually 3 (sometimes 4) lower ones more slender and sharply deflexed, 1 to 1.5 cm. long (occasionally one of them longer); flowers apparently purple; ovary covered with very prominent woolly pulvini which are more or less bristly and spiny, but ripening into a smooth juicy obovate fruit; seeds discoid and beaked, irregularly angular, with broad commissure, about mm. broad." (Coulter, l.c.)

Type locality: Calmalli, Lower California.

Distribution: Lower California.

Type in the Brandegee Herbarium, University of California.

Fig. 73.—Opuntia cholla.

Referred by Mrs. Brandegee (Erythea 5: 122) to O. molesta Brandegee. It is closely related to O. molesta, but its spines are different, though on the same general plan, and its seeds are quite different.

24. Opuntia versicolor Engelmann in Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 452. 1896.

Opuntia arborescens versicolor E. Dams, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 14: 3. 1904.

24. Opuntia versicolor Engelmann in Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 452. 1896.

Opuntia arborescens versicolor E. Dams, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 14: 3. 1904.

Bush or tree-like, 2 to 4 meters high, with a large, open top sometimes 5 meters broad; trunk and larger stems woody throughout, except the younger branches; terminal joints 10 to 20 cm. long, 2.5 cm. in diameter, variously colored, not strongly tuberculate when living; tubercles 1.5 cm. long; spines 5 to 11, 5 to 25 mm. long, dark colored, with close-fitting sheaths; glochids reddish brown; flowers variously colored, yellow, greenish, reddish, or brown, 3 to 5.5 cm. broad; ovary tuberculate, with large areoles bearing wool, glochids, and long deciduous bristles; fruit persisting for months, sometimes for a year, 2.5 to 4 cm. long, at first somewhat tuberculate, becoming pear-shaped or globose, sometimes proliferous; seeds white, 5 mm. broad.

Type locality: Tucson, Arizona.

Distribution: Arizona and northern Mexico.

This species is common on the lower foothills and is only rarely found on the mesas. It is of slow growth, propagating almost entirely from seed. As the name suggests, it has flowers of many colors; each plant has its own color and the color of the flowers is to a greater or less extent paralleled in that of the branches. The contrast in color shown by a colony of these plants is very striking and one's first impression is that more than one species exists.

Named specimens of this species were distributed by the late Dr. C. G. Pringle in 1881, but the species was not published until 1896.

Illustrations: Ariz. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull. 67: pl. 6, f. 1; Bull. Torrey Club 32: pl. 9, f. 4 to 8; Hornaday, Camp-fires on Desert and Lava, pl. facing p. 18, 116, 320; N. Mex. Agr. Exp. Sta. Bull. 60: pl. 6, f. 1; Plant World 1110: f. 8; Sargent, Man. Trees N. Amer. f. 561.

Plate vii, figure 5, represents a fruiting joint; plate viii, figure 2, is from a photograph taken by Dr. MacDougal near the base of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona; plate ix, figures 2 to 5, are paintings made at the Desert Laboratory, Tucson, Arizona, by Kako Monita, showing the range in color of the flowers.

Continue reading here: Opuntia lloydii Rose Contr U S Nat Herb 12 292 1909

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