Cumulopuntia is one of several genera that have now been separated from Opuntia. Closely related to another South American genus, Maihueniopsis, Cumulopuntia is distinct because of its somewhat different growth pattern, specialized fruits that lack pulp within, and characteristic seed structure. Cumulopuntia (type, O. ignescens = C. ignescens) was described by Friedrich Ritter in 1980, the name derived from the Latin cumulo, pile or heap up, referring to the compact mounds or cushions formed by the plants.

Cumulopuntia, as circumscribed by James Iliff (2001) and others, contains 20 species. It is characterized as having determinate growth, ephemeral leaves, and usually fewer than 30 areoles per typically ovoid or globose stem segment. The plants usually consist of strongly spined cushions that produce mostly yellow, sometimes red, flowers that close at night. Fruits are distinctive in that the seeds lie dry in the fruit cavity. The seeds are unique though similar to those of Austrocylindropuntia.

Cumulopuntia F. Ritter 1980

Subfamily Opuntioideae. Plants low growing, forming loose to dense clumps or cushions, densely branching laterally or sometimes terminally, with distinctly segmented stems. Roots tuberous to fibrous. Stem segments globose, ellipsoidal, or ovate, relatively firm, about 10 cm (3.9 in) long, determinate in growth. Leaves minute, mostly cylindrical, early deciduous, 0.5-3 mm long. Areoles with hairs and glochids, usually with spines, not sunken into cavities, sometimes concentrated toward the upper parts of the segments. Flowers yellow or red, never white, closing at night. Fruits ellipsoidal, ovate to globose, thick walled, fleshy, with the seeds lying dry within the cavity. Seeds globose to globose ovoid to pear shaped, beige to brown, sometimes wrinkled, girdle and lateral ridges usually prominent, 3-5.5 mm (to 0.2 in) long and in diameter. Distribution: southern Peru, Chile, Bolivia, and northern Argentina.

Cumulopuntia boliviana (Salm-Dyck) F. Ritter 1980

copana, espina, kepo, puscaya

Opuntia boliviana Salm-Dyck 1845, Tephrocactus bolivianus (SalmDyck) Backeberg 1950, Maihueniopsis boliviana (Salm-Dyck) R. Kiesling 1984

Tephrocactus asplundii Backeberg 1957, Opuntia asplundii (Backeberg) G. D. Rowley 1958 Tephrocactus albiscoparius Backeberg 1962, not validly published Tephrocactus melanacanthus Backeberg 1963

Tephrocactus echinaceus F. Ritter 1964, Cumulopuntia echinacea (F. Ritter) F. Ritter 1980, Opuntia echinacea (F. Ritter) A. E. Hoffmann 1989

Cumulopuntia famatinensis F. Ritter 1980 Cumulopuntia pampana F. Ritter 1980

Plants forming dense, often large cushions. Stem segments elongate to ovoid, green, tuberculate apically, 3.5-7 cm (1.42.8 in) long. Tubercles at first well delimited, later obscure, mostly on upper portions of segments. Areoles near the segment tips, about 15, uppermost spine bearing. Spines 1-4, erect or somewhat spreading, straight, rounded or slightly compressed, some thin and flexible, yellow to reddish brown, sometimes with a few bristles, 3-10 cm (1.2-3.9 in) long. Flowers yellow, to 4 cm (1.6 in) long; pericarpels bristly above. Fruits usually subglobose, fleshy, green, mostly spineless but sometimes with a few bristles. Distribution: Altiplano of Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, and Peru. Cumulopuntia boliviana is a surprisingly unvarying species, though widespread.

Cumulopuntia chichensis (Cárdenas) E. F.Anderson 1999 Tephrocactus chichensis Cárdenas 1952, Opuntia chichensis (Cárdenas) G. D. Rowley 1958 Tephrocactus ferocior Backeberg 1953, Opuntia ferocior (Backeberg) G. D. Rowley 1958

Plants forming dense cushions to 1 m (3.3 ft) or more wide. Stem segments bulky, ellipsoidal, grass green, tuberculate, to

Cumulopuntia chichensis

10 cm (3.9 in) long. Tubercles somewhat rhomboid, producing a lateral lattice pattern, but imbricate above. Areoles as many as 30 or more, extending well down the segments, about half bearing spines. Spines extremely variable, as many as 16 or more, straight to curved, spreading and interlacing, white to golden brown, to 5 cm (2 in) long. Flowers golden yellow, to 5 cm (2 in) long; pericarpels bristly or with only a few glochids. Fruits globose to ellipsoidal, to 5 cm (2 in) long, light greenish yellow, nearly unarmed. Distribution: Jujuy, Argentina, to Potosi, Bolivia.

Cumulopuntia boliviana

Continue reading here: Cumulopuntia corotilla K Schumann exVaupel

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