Opuntia Miller (1754)

(Greek "opos" = figs sap)
Because of the figs similar fruits or a combination of the Aztec name "nopali" (Spain "nopal" = Opuntia) and
(Latin "pungere" = prick) Prickly Pear.
By the natives as Tuna mentioned. In the 16th century by the Spanish imported and escaped to the climatic favorable Mediterranean region.
The Greek scholar Plinius designated a plant as Opuntia which occurred near the Greek town Opunet.
Curiously enough prevailed the name of the escaped Tuna, it became recognized as genus name later.

tree-like or shrubby, pads flat circular, also dwarf forms with globular pads; spines very different in number, lenght and color
flowers wide opening, mostly on the upper pad edge, yellow, whiteish-yellow, orange or shades of red
fruits large, firgs similar shaped, color different, partly eatable, partly used as fodder; seeds large, broad circular, flat

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Distribution

from Canada (British Columbia) thru the USA and Mexico to south Chile
steppes and mountains

Growth period

very sunny and hot, a location outdoors is possible and recommend
sufficient watering and fertilize, hardly sensitive to too much moisture
without sufficient fertilizer the plants begin to waste away
best time therefor is from March to May, at least it should be consumed the nitrogen reserves in June
the best is to use a complete fertilizer therefor

Winter period

complete dry at about 42–50 F (6–10°C)

Soil-mixture

nutritious, permeable to water and porous
addition of some humus, quartz gravel, pumice, expanded slate, expanded clay is recommendable
do not choose the pots too small
   
Opuntia phaeacantha Engelmann (1849)
 
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Arizona, Grand Canyon in ca. 7050 ft (2150 m) altitude        
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Habitat

USA
Arizona, Colorado, California, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah
Mexico
Chihuahua
deserts and surrounding mountains, chaparral and plains
in ca. 656–6890 ft (200–2100 m) altitude

Description

brown-red spined Opuntia
shrubby, wide sprawling, stem segments 3.9–5.9 in (10–15 cm) long
1–4 spines, to 2.4 in (6 cm) long, strong, at the upper part of the stem segments,
base brown or brighter
glochids numerous, brown to yellow

flowers 2 in (5 cm) Ø, yellow
fruits 1.2 in (3 cm) long, reddish

Flowering time

June–July in cultivation
April–July in habitat

Comment

Opuntia phaeacantha is with protection against rain and moisture cold hardy to ca. -4 F (- 20°C).
Synonyms -
CITES Appendix II
 
Description of "Kakteen von A bis Z" by Walter Haage with courtesy by Kakteen-Haage made available.

 

 

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