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Opuntia polyacantha Haw.
HAIRSPINE PRICKLYPEAR
Opuntia erinacea var utahensis Engelm LDBenson; Opuntia rhodantha KSchum; Opuntia sphaerocarpa var utahensis Engelm; Plains pricklypear; Mojave Pricklypear; Opuntia erinacea

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Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

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Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha
Opuntia polyacantha
© Copyright Mel Harte 2010 · 3
Opuntia polyacantha

Associates · map
FamilyScientific name @ source (records)
Apidae  Diadasia australis @ I_JDZ (1); I_ADG (1); BBSL (1)
Asterinaceae  Lembosia cactorum @ BPI (4)
Dactylopiidae  Dactylopius confusus @ CSCA_TCN (4)
Halictidae  Agapostemon angelicus @ BBSL (5)

Lasioglossum pruinosum @ BBSL (1)
Megachilidae  Ashmeadiella gillettei @ BBSL (1)

Megachile brevis @ BBSL (1)
Myriangiaceae  Diplotheca wrightii @ BPI (1)
Pentatomidae  Chlorochroa granulosa @ AMNH_IZC (2)

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Following modified from Flora of North America
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34. Opuntia polyacantha Haworth, Suppl. Pl. Succ. 82. 1819.

Starvation pricklypear

Cactus ferox Nuttall, Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 1: 296. 1818, not Willdenow 1813; Tunas polyacantha (Haworth) Nieuwland & Lunell

Shrubs , low, 10-25 cm, with ± prostrate branches. Stem segments not easily detached, green, elliptic to narrowly to broadly obovate to circular, 4-27 × 2-18 cm, low tuberculate; areoles 4-14 per diagonal row across midstem segment, subcircular, 3-6 mm; wool tan to brown. Spines at all or only distal areoles of stem segment, terete to flattened, stout to acicular to bristlelike, straight to curling, of 1 or 2 kinds; if 1 kind: 0-18 per areole, spreading and curling in various directions, sometimes straight, erect, ascending to deflexed, yellow to dark brown to black, turning gray, pink-gray to gray-brown, longest (35-)40-90(-185) mm; if ± 2 kinds: major spines (0-)1-5, reflexed to porrect, yellow-brown to brown to gray, longest 20-150 mm; minor spines (0-)5-11, deflexed, white to white-gray, longest 4-16 mm. Glochids inconspicuous, in narrow, tidy crescent at adaxial edge of areole or in broad, brushy crescent and tuft, yellow to reddish, aging brown, to 10 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow to magenta throughout, 25-40 mm; filaments white, yellow, or red to magenta (flowers may superficially appear bicolored); anthers yellow; style white to pale pink; stigma lobes green. Fruits tan to brown, ± cylindric, 15-45 × 12-25 mm, dry at maturity, glabrous, sometimes burlike; areoles 10-33, each or only distal areoles bearing 3-16 spines, 4-20 mm. Seeds tan to gray, flattened, warped, oblong to subcircular, 3-7 × 2-4 mm; girdle protruding 1-2 mm.

Varieties 5 (5 in the flora): w United States, n Mexico.

Populations of Opuntia polyacantha with spines few or absent (especially var. hystricina ) were the basis for several names including O. juniperina, O. utahensis , and O. rhodantha .

Following served from var. arenaria New Mexico Rare Plants
   
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34b. Opuntia polyacantha Haworth var. arenaria (Engelmann) B. D. Parfitt, Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles). 70: 188. 1998.

Sand pricklypear

Opuntia arenaria Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 301. 1856

Stem segments narrowly obovate, 4-7 × 2-3(-5) cm; areoles 4-6 per diagonal row across midstem segment, 8-11 mm apart. Spines in most areoles, of 2 kinds: major spines 1-3 per areole, only in distal 3-9 areoles, reflexed to porrect, brown, longest 20-40 mm; minor spines 5-7 per areole, strongly deflexed, white, 4-7 mm, except middle one to 14 mm. Fruits slender; areoles 10-14, bearing 3-6 spines, to 8 mm. 2 n = 22.

Flowering late spring. Sandy barren areas, small dunes; of conservation concern; 1000-1300 m; N.Mex., Tex.; Mexico (Chihuahua).

Following served from var. erinacea Benny M°ller Jensen
   
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34e. Opuntia polyacantha Haworth var. erinacea (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) B. D. Parfitt, Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles). 70: 188. 1998.

Mojave pricklypear, grizzly bear pricklypear

Opuntia erinacea Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 301. 1856; O. erinacea var. ursina (F. A. C. Weber) Parish; O. hystricina Engelmann & Bigelow var. ursina (F. A. C. Weber) Backeberg; O. ursina F. A. C. Weber

Stem segments elliptic to obovate, (7-)10-20 × 5-10 cm; areoles 8-14 per diagonal row across midstem segment, 12-17 mm apart. Spines 1-18 per areole, in essentially all areoles, grading in size and orientation, yellow to dark brown, turning gray, pink-gray, or gray-brown, the longest spreading and curling in all directions especially on proximal stem segments, usually ascending and ± straight near stem segment apex, deflexed to reflexed near base, (35-)40-90(-185) mm, spines of older stem segments more numerous, less straight, and reflexed. Fruits stout; areoles 20-33, each bearing 7-13 spines, 8-20 mm. 2 n = 44.

Flowering late spring. Deserts, desert grasslands, juniper woodlands, alluvial, sandy or gravelly soils; 1000-1400 m; Ariz., Calif., Nev., Utah.

Plants of Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea with very long, wavy hairlike spines have been treated as O. ursina or O. erinacea var. ursina . Such plants, however, occur at the original (type) locality for var. erinaceae , and the characteristic spines may appear on the oldest stem of otherwise straight-spined plants. The name Opuntia erinacea has been widely misapplied to some plants of other varieties of O. polyacantha .

Following served from var. hystricina George Higgins
   
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34d. Opuntia polyacantha Haworth var. hystricina (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) B. D. Parfitt, Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles). 70: 188. 1998.

Porcupine pricklypear

Opuntia hystricina Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 299. 1856; O. erinacea Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow var. hystricina (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) L. D. Benson; O. erinacea var. rhodantha (K. Schumann) L. D. Benson; O. erinacea var. xanthostemma (K. Schumann) L. D. Benson; O. rhodantha K. Schumann; O. xanthostemma K. Schumann

Stem segments obovate, 8-10 × 5-8 cm; areoles (6-)8-10 per diagonal row across midstem segment, 10-17 mm apart. Spines in most areoles, grading in size and orientation; longer spines (1-)2-6 per areole, slightly descending porrect, ascending near apex, (yellow-gray to) brown to black, (40-)50-80 mm; smaller spines 4-6 per areole, reflexed, gray-white. Fruits stout; areoles 11-21, bearing 4-8 spines, 4-18 mm. 2 n = 44, 66.

Flowering late spring. Grasslands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, clay or limestone soils; 1300-1900(-2400) m; Ariz., Calif., Colo., Nev., N.Mex., Utah.

Following served from var. nicholii Michael Kie▀ling
   
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34c. Opuntia polyacantha Haworth var. nicholii (L. D. Benson) B. D. Parfitt, Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles). 70: 188. 1998.

Navajo Bridge pricklypear

Opuntia nicholii L. D. Benson, Cacti Arizona ed. 2, 48. 1950; O. hystricina Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow var. nicholii (L. D. Benson) Backeberg

Stem segments narrowly to broadly obovate, 10-27 × 7-18 cm; areoles 8-11 per diagonal row across midstem segment, 12-30 mm apart. Spines in most areoles, of 2 kinds: major spines 1-5 per areole, down curved, ascending near stem segment apex, pink-gray or basal 2 /3 brown to black, the longest 45-150 mm; minor spines 3-8 per areole, deflexed, white to gray, 60-220 cm (spine clusters easily detached in preparing specimens). Fruits stout; areoles 18-24, most bearing 3-12 spines, 8-17 mm. 2 n = 66.

Flowering spring. Barren areas with saltbush and ephedra, limestone or red, sandy soils; 1200-1300 m; Ariz., Utah.

Following served from var. polyacantha, Glendale Xeriscape Botanical Garden
   
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Following served from var. polyacantha, Keir Morse
   
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34a. Opuntia polyacantha Haworth var. polyacantha

Opuntia heacockiae G. Arp; O. juniperina Britton & Rose; O. polyacantha var. juniperina (Britton & Rose) L. D. Benson; O. polyacantha var. rufispina (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) L. D. Benson; O. polyacantha var. trichophora (Engelmann) J. M. Coulter; O. trichophora Engelmann

Stem segments broadly obovate to circular, (4-)8.5-12 × (4-)5.5-11 cm; areoles 6-11 per diagonal row across midstem segment, 6-13 mm apart. Spines in most areoles, of 2 kinds: major spines (0-)1-3(-5) per areole, ± deflexed to reflexed or porrect at stem segment apex, yellow-brown to gray, 20-35(-40) mm; minor spines 0-5 per areole, deflexed, white, 5-10(-16) mm, sometimes spines of basal and near basal areoles are long, flexible, curling. Fruits stout; areoles 12-28, most bearing (4-)6-15 spines, 5-10 mm. 2 n = 22, 44.

Flowering late spring. Grasslands, pinyon-juniper woodlands, clay, sandy or gravelly soils; 500-2000(-2800) m; Alta., Sask.; Ariz., Colo., Idaho, Kans., Mont., Nebr., Nev., N.Mex., N.Dak., Okla., S.Dak., Tex., Utah, Wyo.

The morphotype, usually called Opuntia trichophora , has additional, curly, hairlike spines from areoles on older stem segments, but these plants occur sporadically throughout the range of O. polyacantha var. polyacantha from New Mexico to Wyoming.

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Updated: 2024-06-18 15:41:24 gmt
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