Opuntia soehrensii sp nov

Prostrate, in masses usually 1 meter in diameter or less; joints at first ereet or aseending, finally prostrate and rooting and forming new eolonies, flattened, rather thin, somewhat tubereulate, very spiny, orbieular, 4 to 6 em. in diameter, often purplish; spines slender, rather variable in eolor, usually yellow or brown, several from eaeh areole, sometimes as many as eight, the longest ones 5 em. long, ereet; flowers light yellow, 3 em. long; sepals brown; filaments yellow; style white; stigma-lobes green; fruit naked, 3 em. long; seeds 3 to 3.5 mm. broad, ovate, thiekish, with narrow margin and roughened sides.

Highlands of southern Peru, Bolivia, and northern Argentina. Type eolleeted by Dr. and Mrs. J. N. Rose below Pampa de Arrieros, Peru, August 23, 1914 (No. 18967).

This speeies is very eommon in its region, but as it is eultivated somewhat for its seeds as well as used as a proteetion for gardens and yards, its natural distribution is diffieult to determine. On the barren hills below La Paz, Bolivia, the speeies is well established and grows as if native; on some of these hills it is the dominant and sometimes exclusive plant. In the same general region, however, one finds the plant about the houses, especially on walls, where it has undoubtedly been planted. At Oruro, Bolivia, it was seen only in the wild state, while at several stations along the railroad between Juliaca and Cuzco, Peru, especially at Combatata and Tinta, Peru, it has been planted on top of many of the mud walls about the yards. On the hills below Pampa de Arrieros, Peru, the species is extremely common and undoubtedly native.

The plant is known everywhere by the natives as ayrampo. The seeds are collected in great quantity and dried, and may be bought in the market places, especially in Arequipa. Indeed, there must have been a time when they were shipped by freight, for the name Ayrampo has always appeared on the printed freight classification of the Southern Railroad of Peru. The assistant superintendent of the road, Mr. Brown, states that, so far as he knows, there are few or no shipments made now. One of the places in Peru where Dr. Rose found the plant very abundant is named Ayrampal.

The dry seeds, when placed in water, yield a red substance which is used for coloring jellies and gelatine and, according to some, for coloring wines. In former, days the Indians also used this substance in some of their carnival ceremonies. The coloring matter does not come from the seeds themselves, but from the red juice of the fruit which has dried on the surfaces.

Figure 169 represents a joint of this species collected by Dr. Rose at Oruro, Bolivia, in 1914.

-Opuntia soehrensii. xo.4.

-Opuntia soehrensii. xo.4.

130. Opuntia microdisca Weber, Diet. Hort. Bois 896. 1898.

Forming small elumps, very much branched, prostrate; joints mostly obovate to oblong, 4 to 8 em. long, usually much flattened, but sometimes nearly eylindrie, grayish green; leaves minute, purple, soon dropping off; areoles numerous, 5 to 6 mm. apart, rather large, when young densely white-felted; spines 10 to 15, white to reddish, unequal, some of the eentrals 1.5 to 2.5 em. long; gloehids numerous, yellow; flower-buds red; flowers 2.5 em. long, bright red; filaments purple; style white; stigma-lobes 6 to 8, short; ovary turbinate, 16 mm. long, bearing numerous areoles subtended by narrow red leaves; areoles on ovary densely felted and bristly; fruit red.

Type locality: In Catamarca, Argentina.

Distribution: Northern Argentina.

Schumann refers this species to Platyopuntia, while Weber referred it to Tephrocactus. It evidently belongs to our Sulphureae, being nearest our O. soehrensii.

Our description is drawn chiefly from specimens obtained by J. A. Shafer between Andalgala and Concepción, Argentina, in 1916, supplemented by a living specimen obtained by Dr. Spegazzini in 1915. In Argentina this species also is known as ayrampo.

Figure 170 represents a joint of the plant collected by J. A. Shafer between Andalgala and Concepción, Argentina, December 28, 1916 (No. 24).

To this relationship may belong the following species:

Opuntia PENiciLLiGERA Spegazzini, Anal. Mus. Nae. Buenos Aires Fig i7°.—Joint of Opuntia miero-

Low, nearly prostrate; joints flattened, orbieular to broadly obovate, 10 to 12 em. long, 7 to 10 em. broad, dull green; spines slender, twisted, one elongated and 1 to 5 em. long, the others mueh shorter, all white; gloehids brownish; flowers from the lateral and marginal areoles, eitron-yellow;

ovary 3 to 3.5 cm. long, with very many areoles bearing numerous glochids; style thick; stigmalobes 8 to 10, greenish white; fruit reddish, clavate, 4.5 cm. long, with a depressed umbilicus; seeds small, 3 to 3.5 mm. broad.

Type locality: Argentina, between Rio Negro and Rio Colorado.

Distribution: Southern Argentina.

According to Dr. Spegazzini, this species is not near to any of the known South American species, but resembles somewhat the North American species O. microdasys and O. basilaris. We know it only from the description.

Opuntia calantha Griffiths, Bull. Torr. Club 43: 524. 1916.

A low, creeping, prostrate plant 15 cm. high, one meter in diameter; joints obovate, narrowed above and below, inequilateral, 11 cm. long, 4 cm. broad, tuberculate-wrinkled, mostly deep green; areoles 1 to 1.5 mm. long, obovate, at first tawny, turning gray; leaves small, subulate, cuspidate, red. 1 mm. long; glochids yellow; spines 5 to 10, up to 5 mm. long; flowers carmine; fruit globular, 1.5 cm. in diameter.

Recorded as probably of South American origin and usually distributed as Opuntia mi-crodisca, but from which it is said to differ very much. The plant is known to us only from the description of cultivated specimens.

Series 9. STRIGILES.

The series consists of a single species, native of Texas. It is a low, bushy plant with large joints bearing many areoles, these close together, each with several acicular, reddish brown spines; the fruit is small.

131. Opuntia strigil Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. 3:

290. 1856.

Suberect, 6 dm. high; joints orbicular to obovate, 10 to 12.5 cm. long; areoles close together, prominent; spines 5 to 8, spreading, many of them appressed to the joint and deflexed, red to reddish brown with lighter tips, the longer ones 2.5 cm. long; glochids numerous; flowers unknown; fruits small, nearly globular, 12 mm. in diameter, truncate, red; areoles on fruit very small; seeds 3 mm. broad.

Type locality: In crevices of limestone rock, between the Pecos River and El Paso, Texas.

Distribution: Texas.

A rare plant, first collected by Charles Wright in 1851. Engelmann says in the Mexican Boundary Report that it was also collected by Wright and Bigelow, but there is no mention of it in his report on Bigelow's plants, nor do we find specimens in the Engelmann herbarium, so that it would appear that this reference to Bigelow was a mistake. Bigelow, it is true, crossed the River Pecos, on which the type was found, but it was well up in New Mexico and not in Texas, where it was crossed by Charles Wright. It was more recently collected by Nealley somewhere in Texas. The place of collection by Wright and the later one by Nealley are very indefinitely indicated on the labels accompanying the specimens.

Illustration: Cact. Mex. Bound. pl. 67.

Figure 171 is copied from the illustration above cited.

ig. 171

-Opuntia strigil. X0.4.

ig. 171

-Opuntia strigil. X0.4.

Series 10. SETISPINAE.

Bushy or depressed species, with tuberous or thickened roots, broad, flat, thin joints, and elongated, acicular, brown spines which fade whitish; their fruits are large and juicy. We recognize six species, natives of the south central and southwestern United States and northern Mexico. They approach the Tortispinae on the one hand and the Phaeacanthae on the other.

Continue reading here: Key to Species

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