Opuntia ficus-indica

(Linnaeus) Miller

Gard. Dict. ed. 8, Opuntia no. 2. 1768.

Common names: Indian-fig pricklypear mission pricklypear tuna cactus
Introduced
Basionym: Cactus ficus-indica Linnaeus Sp. Pl. 1: 468. 1753
Synonyms: Cactus opuntia Linnaeus Opuntia compressa J. F. Macbride Opuntia vulgaris Miller
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 142. Mentioned on page 125, 127, 139, 143, 149.

Trees, 3–6 m; trunk to 30–45 cm diam. Stem segments green, broadly oblong to ovate to narrowly elliptic, (20–) 4–60 × 2–3+ cm, low tuberculate; areoles 7–11 per diagonal row across midstem segment, rhombic to subcircular, 2–4 (–5) mm diam.; wool brown. Spines 1–6 per areole, absent or very highly reduced, or in marginal to nearly all areoles, erect to spreading, whitish, tan, or brown, setaceous only or setaceous and subulate, straight to slightly curved, basally angular-flattened, 1–10 (–40) mm; 0–2 small bristlelike deflexed spines to 5 mm. Glochids along adaxial margin of areole and small, inconspicuous tuft, yellowish, aging brown, less than 2 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow to orange throughout, 25–50 mm; filaments and anthers yellow; style bright red; stigma lobes yellow. Fruits yellow to orange to purple, 50–100 × 40–90 mm, fleshy to ± juicy, glabrous, usually spineless; areoles 45–60, evenly distributed on fruit. Seeds pale tan, subcircular, 4–5 mm diam., warped; girdle protruding to 1 mm. 2n = 88.


Phenology: Flowering spring (Apr).
Habitat: Coastal chaparral, sage scrub, arid uplands, washes, canyons, disturbed sites
Elevation: 0-300 m

Distribution

V4 271-distribution-map.gif

Introduced; Ariz., Calif., Mexico

Discussion

R. P. Wunderlin (1998) listed this taxon in Florida, but I have not seen specimens.

Opuntia ficus-indica, cultivated nearly worldwide, is presumed to be a native of Mexico, but is definitely known only from cultivation or escapes from cultivation. The species has been used for cattle feed, ornament, and fuel. As human food, the young stem segments, “nopalitos,” are eaten as salad or pickled as a vegetable, and the large delicious fruits, “tunas,” are enjoyed in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide.

This species probably originated through selection by native peoples of Mexico for spineless forms of Opuntia streptacantha (also 2n = 88) to ease the culturing and collection of cochineal scale insects for their red dye. Numerous cultivar names are known.

Naturalized Opuntia ficus-indica (octoploid, spiny morphotype) is known to hybridize in central California with O. phaeacantha (hexaploid), forming a heptaploid with usually intermediate morphology.

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.
... more about "Opuntia ficus-indica"
cushionlike +
0.8 cm8 mm <br />0.008 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br />) +
deciduous +  and persistent +
0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br /> (0.8 cm8 mm <br />0.008 m <br />) +
45 +  and 60 +
rhombic +  and subcircular +
0.1 cm1 mm <br />0.001 m <br /> (0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br />) +
Donald J. Pinkava +
(Linnaeus) Miller +
Cactus ficus-indica +
proliferating +
flattened +  and cylindric +
Indian-fig pricklypear +, mission pricklypear +  and tuna cactus +
Ariz. +, Calif. +  and Mexico +
0-300 m +
15 cm150 mm <br />0.15 m <br /> (30 cm300 mm <br />0.3 m <br />) +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (15 cm150 mm <br />0.15 m <br />) +
burlike +  and spiny +
yellow;orange +
straight +
indehiscent +
persistent +, long +  and deciduous +
50mm;100mm +
proliferating +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
clavate +  and cylindric ovoid or obovoid +
fleshy +  and more or less juicy +
4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br /> (9 cm90 mm <br />0.09 m <br />) +
0.03 cm0.3 mm <br />3.0e-4 m <br /> (0.35 cm3.5 mm <br />0.0035 m <br />) +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br />) +
foveolate +  and reticulate +
Coastal chaparral, sage scrub, arid uplands, washes, canyons, disturbed sites +
oblong +  and spatulate +
2.5 cm25 mm <br />0.025 m <br /> (5 cm50 mm <br />0.05 m <br />) +
deciduous +
flattened +  and conic +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br />) +
succulent +
tuberculate +
fluted;spheric;depressed-spheric or club-shaped +
tinged color +
open +  and simple +
sometimes covered by outgrowths of proximal portion of style base or of flower tube wall +  and open +
persistent +  and deciduous +
Flowering spring (Apr). +
ridgelike +  and nipple--shaped +
Gard. Dict. ed. +
3;2;2;30 +
tuberlike +
0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br /> (0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br />) +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br />) +
warped;subcircular +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br />) +
Introduced +
1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br /> (4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br />) +
brown +, tan +  and whitish +
straight +  and slightly curved +
deciduous +  and persistent +
conspicuous +
with hairlike bristles +  and setose +
0 (?) +  and 2 (?) +
angular-flattened +, subulate +  and setaceous +
0.1 cm1 mm <br />0.001 m <br /> (1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br />) +
hard +  and rigid +
decurrent +
winged +  and unsegmented +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
60 cm600 mm <br />0.6 m <br /> (120 cm1,200 mm <br />1.2 m <br />) +
20 cm200 mm <br />0.2 m <br /> (4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br />) +
4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br /> (60 cm600 mm <br />0.6 m <br />) +
pubescent +  and glabrous +
2 cm20 mm <br />0.02 m <br /> (3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br />) +
segmented +
woody +  and succulent +
Cactus opuntia +, Opuntia compressa +  and Opuntia vulgaris +
adventitious +
tuberlike +
epipetric +  and epiphytic +
Opuntia ficus-indica +
species +
dull +  and glossy +
yellow +  and paler +
30cm;45cm +
segmented +
inconspicuous +
terrestrial;epiphytic or epipetric +
erect +  and trailing +