Opuntia leptocaulis De Candolle Mem Mus Hist Nat Paris 17 118 1828

Opuntia ramulifera Salm-Dyck, Hort. Dyck. 360. 1834.

Opuntia gracilis Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 172. 1837.

Opuntiafragilis frutescens Engelmann, Bost. Journ. Nat. Hist. 5: 245. 1845.

Opuntia virgata Link and Otto in Forster, Handb. Cact. 506. 1846.

Opuntia vaginata Engelmann in Wislizenus, Mem. Tour North. Mex. 100. 1848.

Opuntia frutescens Engelmann, Bost. Journ. Nat. Hist. 6: 208. i85o.

Opuntia frutescens brevispina Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 309. 1856.

Opuntia frutescens longispina Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3: 309. 1856.

Opuntia leptocaulis brevispina S. Watson, Bibl. Index 1: 407. 1878.

Opuntia leptocaulis vaginata S. Watson, Bibl. Index 1: 407. 1878.

Opuntia leptocaulis stipata Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 456. 1896.

Opuntia leptocaulis longispina Berger, Bot. Jahrb. Engler 36: 450. 1905.

Usually bushy, often compact, 2 to 20 dm. high, but sometimes with a short, definite trunk 5 to 8 cm. in diameter, dull green with darker blotches below the areoles, with slender, cylindric, ascending, hardly tuberculate branches; branches, especially the fruiting ones, thickly set with short, usually spineless joints spreading nearly at right angles to the main branches, very easily detached; leaves green, awl-shaped, 12 mm. long or less, acute; spines usually solitary at young areoles, very slender, white, at areoles of old branches 2 or 3 together, 2 to 5 cm. long or less; sheaths of spines closely fitting or loose and papery, yellowish brown to whitish; areoles with very short white wool; flowers greenish or yellowish, 1-5 to 2 cm. long including the ovary; sepals broadly ovate, acute, or cuspidate; ovary obconic, bearing numerous small woolly brown areoles subtended by small leaves, its glochids brown; fruit small, globular to obovate or even clavate, often proliferous, red or rarely yellow, 10 to 18 mm. long, turgid, slightly fleshy; seeds compressed, 3 to 4 mm. broad, with narrow, often acute, margins.

Type locality: In Mexico.

Distribution: Southwestern United States and Mexico.

This species has a wide distribution for an Opuntia, extending from southern United States to Puebla, Mexico.

The great variation in the length of the spines and in the character of the spine sheaths has led to the description of several varieties. These all seem to us to merge into the one species, as above indicated. It sometimes hybridizes with O. imbricata. See C. B. Allaire's plant from San Antonio, New Mexico.

The following names, Opuntia leptocaulis laetevirens Salm-Dyck (Hort. Dyck. 184. 1834), O. gracilis subpatens Salm-Dyck (Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849. 73. 1850), and O. leptocaulis major Toumey (Cycl. Amer. Hort. Bailey 3: 1152. 1901) are printed but not described.

Illustrations: Bull. Torr. Club 32: pl. 10, f. 9; Rep. Mo. Bot. Gard. 19: pl. 21, in part; Safford, Ann. Rep. Smiths. Inst. 1908: f. 12; Emory, Mil. Reconn. app. 2. f. 12; Pac. R. Rep. 4: pl. 20, f. 1; pl. 24, f. 13 to 15, all as Opuntia vaginata. Cact. Journ. 1: 154, as

Fig. 56.—Opuntia leptocaulis in the foreground.

Fig. 57—Opuntia leptocau- Fig. 58.—Opuntia Calis. X0.4. ribaea. X0.66.

Fig. 56.—Opuntia leptocaulis in the foreground.

Fig. 57—Opuntia leptocau- Fig. 58.—Opuntia Calis. X0.4. ribaea. X0.66.

frutescens. Pac. R. Rep. 4: pl. 20, f. 4, 5; pl. 24, f. 19, all as Opuntia frutescens brevispina. Pac. R. Rep. 4: pl. 20, f. 2, 3; pl. 24, f. 16 to 18, all as Opuntia frutescens longispina.

Plate vi, figure 3, represents a fruiting branch from a plant collected by Dr. Rose near Sierra Blanca, Texas, in 1913; figure 4 shows a fruiting branch from another Texas plant obtained by the same collector. Figure 56 is from a photograph taken by Dr. MacDougal near Tucson, Arizona, in 1913; figure 57 represents a branch with young leafy shoots, of a specimen collected by Dr. Rose in 1913 at Laredo, Texas.

4. Opuntia tesajo Engelmann in Coulter, Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 3: 448. 1896.

Bushy, 3 dm. broad and high; joints slender, indistinctly tuberculate, 2 to 5 cm. long; areoles 5 to 6 mm. apart; leaves awl-shaped, 2 to 4 mm. long, often red; spines at first 2, small, dark brown, 4 to 8 mm. long, either erect or reflexed; later a long central spine develops, this porrect, 5 cm. long, yellow near the tip; flowers yellow, small, 1.5 to 1.8 cm. long, including the ovary; style whitish; stigma-lobes 5, yellowish.

Type locality: In Lower California.

Distribution: Central part of Lower California.

The type of this little-known species should be in the herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden, at St. Louis, but it can not now be found. The species has been in cultivation at La Mortola, Italy, but it does not do well under cultivation. Dr. C. A. Purpus, who has collected the plant in Lower California, regarded it as related to O. ramosissima, claiming that the stems have the peculiar marking of that species. This

1, 2. Branches of Opuntia mortolensis. 3, 4. Branches of Opuntia leptocaulis.

Flowering branch of Opuntia arbuscula. Flowering branch of Opuntia kleiniae.

(All natural size.)

1, 2. Branches of Opuntia mortolensis. 3, 4. Branches of Opuntia leptocaulis.

Flowering branch of Opuntia arbuscula. Flowering branch of Opuntia kleiniae.

(All natural size.)

relationship, however, is not shown in the La Mortola plant. With only a very meager description published and no type specimen preserved, it is difficult to decide the relationship of this species. No exact type locality is cited for it, but it is said to grow "among rocks, especially towards the west coast, and in the more central portions" of Lower California, where it was first collected by W. M. Gabb in 1867.

We refer this species with hesitation to the series Leptocaules.

Opuntia tenajo (Just's Bot. Jahresb. 242: 380. 1896) is doubtless an error in spelling for O. tesajo.

Fig. 59.—Opuntia caribaea forming dense thickets.

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