Shrubs or small trees. Stems fleshy, usually many branched, terete, club-shaped, subglobose, laterally compressed; areoles with glochids and usually 1 to many spines. Leaves conic to terete, usually small, caducous. Flowers solitary, lateral or subterminal, rarely terminal, sessile. Receptacle obovoid, truncate and depressed at apex. Perianth rotate, spreading, or erect, inserted at rim of receptacle tube; segments numerous, outer ones sepaloid, inner ones petaloid. Stamens inserted in perianth throat, sensitive (except in O. cochenillifera). Ovary (pericarpel) inferior; placentas parietal. Fruit fleshy or dry, globose or ovoid, umbilicate, with areoles, glochids, and sometimes spines. Seeds encased in a white, hard, rarely hairy aril.
Trees or shrubs, erect to trailing, usually many branched, sometimes forming clumps or mats; trunk, when present, initially segmented, appearing continuous with age, main axis determinate, usually terete. Stem segments green or sometimes reddish to purple, usually flattened, circular, elliptic, ovate, lanceolate, or obovate to oblanceolate, 2-60(-120) × 1.2-40 cm, nearly smooth to tuberculate, glabrous or pubescent; areoles usually elliptic, circular, or obovate, 3-8(-10) × 1-7(-10) mm; wool white, gray, or tan to brown, aging white or gray to black. Spines 0-15+ per areole, white, yellow to brown, red-brown to gray, or black, sometimes partly to wholly white chalky (chalkiness disappearing when wet), aging gray to dark brown to black, with epidermis intact, not sheathed, acicular to subulate, sometimes setose or with hairlike bristles, terete to angular-flattened, to 75(-170) mm, tips sometimes paler or yellow. Glochids in adaxial crescent at margin of areole, in tuft or encircling areole margin, white to yellow to brown, or red-brown, aging white to brown or red-brown. Flowers bisexual or sometimes functionally staminate, radially symmetric; outer tepals green to yellow with margins tinged color of inner tepals; inner tepals pale yellow to orange, pink to red or magenta, rarely white (unicolored) or with base of a different color (bicolored), oblong to spatulate, emarginate-apiculate; nectar chamber simple, open, not covered by proximal thickening style. Pollen yellow, grains reticulate or foveolate (opuntioid type). Fruits sometimes proliferating (sprouting from another fruit), if fleshy, green, yellow, or red to purple or, if dry, tan to gray, straight, sometimes stipitate, clavate to cylindric, ovoid, or obovoid to subspheric, 10-120 × 8-120 mm, fleshy to juicy or dry, smooth or tuberculate, spineless or spiny, sometimes burlike. Seeds pale yellow to tan or gray, generally circular to reniform, flattened (discoid) to subspheric, angular to squarish, sometimes warped, 2-7 × 2-7 mm, glabrous, commonly bearing 1-4 large, shallow depressions due to pressures from adjacent developing seeds; girdle protruding 0.3-3.5 mm, forming ridge or flat wing, or not protruding. x = 11.
OPUNTIA Mill.; Nopalea Salm-Dyck
Arbustos o árboles bajos, postrados o erectos, a veces con troncos bien definidos, tallo articulado, lateralmente comprimido o aplanado o cortamente cilíndrico; aréolas con tricomas, gloquidios (cerdas armadas de púas) y generalmente espinas. Hojas subuladas, generalmente pequeñas, caducas. Flores diurnas; tubo receptacular muy corto; partes del perianto numerosas, amarillas a rojizo-anaranjadas, rojas o hasta moradas, estambres numerosos, insertados en la garganta del tubo receptacular; ovario con aréolas con tricomas, gloquidios y frecuentemente espinas. Frutos jugosos, carnosos o secos, indehiscentes; semillas aplanadas, blancas a cafés, envueltas en un arilo duro, óseo.
Un género complejo con quizás 250 especies distribuidas en toda América; 5 especies se encuentran en Nicaragua. Muchas especies se cultivan con fines ornamentales o económicos (frutas, forraje estacional, cercos, etc.) y son frecuentes y a veces escapados indeseables.
Succulent shrubs, small trees, and subshrubs; stems phylloid and jointed when young, the joints fleshy, compressed and oval to broadly linguiform in our species, bearing amphigenous areoles armed with hairs, glochids, and spines, very rarely un- armed. Leaves inconspicuous, acicular and fugacious. Flowers sessile, chiefly marginal upon the young joints; perianth broadly campanulate, with a short and broad hypanthium, the segments numerous, the outer progressively shorter and less petaloid than the inner, widely spreading; stamens very numerous, the filaments much shorter than the perianth, united at different levels into a shallow glandular cup, somewhat deflexed at anthesis, sensitive and inflexed upon stimulation; ovary turbinate to cylindric, concave, the areoles prominent; style slightly longer than the stamens, terete to fusiform. Fruit a fleshy berry with numerous seeds.
"Stems branched and jointed, the joints cylindric to flattened; spines and glochids arising from the areoles, or the plants virtually spineless; fls borne within the areoles near the tips of joints of the previous year; pet and sep rotate from the summit of the scarcely prolonged hypanthium; stamens shorter than the pet; seeds wingless. 150+, New World."
Shrubby or arborescent cacti with cylindrical, club-shaped, subglobose or flattened branches
Areoles tufted with barbed bristles (glochids) and usually 1–∞ longer stouter spines
Seeds ∞, encased by the hard, white funicular aril; endosperm scanty
Berry bearing areoles, glochids, and sometimes spines
Widely introduced in the warmer parts of the world, some species as food-plants for the cochineal insect, some for forage or for their edible fruits.
Leaves small, subulate to terete, usually early deciduous
Flowers solitary, sessile; perianth rotate or erect,brightly coloured, segments ∞
Grant, V. and K. A. Grant. 1979. Systematics of the Opuntia phaeacantha group in Texas. Bot. Gaz. 140: 199-207. Parfitt, B. D. and M. A. Baker. 1993. Opuntia. In: J. C. Hickman, ed. 1993. The Jepson Manual. Higher Plants of California. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London. Pp. 452-457. Philbrick, R. N. 1963. Biosystematic studies of two Pacific coast opuntias. Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. Pinkava, D. J. 2003. Cactaceae cactus family: Part 6. J. Arizona-Nevada Acad. Sci. 35: 137-150.
|Pricklypear, nopal [origin uncertain; possibly based on name of Greek town (Opus perhaps) where a cactus-like plant grew]|