Opuntia fragilis

(Nuttall) Haworth

Suppl. Pl. Succ., 82. 1819.

Common names: Brittle pricklypear little pricklypear
Endemic
Basionym: Cactus fragilis Nuttall Gen. N. Amer. Pl. 1: 296. 1818
Synonyms: Opuntia brachyarthra Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow Opuntia fragilis var. brach yarthra (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) J. M. Coulter
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 146. Mentioned on page 93, 124.

Shrubs, low, forming mats, 2–10 cm. Stem segments easily detached when terminal, dark green, subspheric to subcylindric, to flattened and elliptic obovate, (1.5–) 2–5.5 × (1–) 1.5–3 cm, low tuberculate (pronounced when dried), glabrous; areoles 3–5 per diagonal row across midstem segment, oval, 3 × 2.5 mm; wool white. Spines 3–8 per areole, in most areoles spreading, gray with brown tips, straight, ± acicular, terete, the longest 8–24 mm; depressed spines at base of areoles 0–3, 1–3 mm. Glochids in crescent at adaxial margin of areole, tan to brown, inconspicuous, to 3 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow, sometimes basally red, 20–26 mm; filaments white or red; anthers yellow; style white; stigma lobes green. Fruits tan, 10–30 × 8–15 mm, dry, glabrous; areoles 12–22, distal areoles bearing 1–6 short spines. Seeds tan to gray, flattened, warped, oblong to subcircular, 5–6 mm diam.; girdle protruding 1–1.5 mm. 2n = 66.


Phenology: Flowering summer (late Jun-early Jul).
Habitat: Barren areas in grasslands, woodlands, sandy or gravelly soils, on outcrops of granite, limestone, or quartzite
Elevation: 0-2400 m

Distribution

V4 281-distribution-map.gif

Alta., B.C., Man., Ont., Sask., Ariz., Calif., Colo., Idaho, Ill., Iowa, Kans., Mich., Minn., Mont., Nebr., N.Mex., N.Dak., Okla., Oreg., S.Dak., Tex., Utah, Wash., Wis., Wyo.

Discussion

Opuntia fragilis is a widespread, though inconspicuous, species; in many places, it flowers infrequently, if at all. Its easily detached stem segments are dispersed by animals and possibly water.

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.
... more about "Opuntia fragilis"
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 />) +
deciduous +  and persistent +
3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br /> (?) +
12 +  and 22 +
2.5 cm25 mm <br />0.025 m <br /> (?) +
Donald J. Pinkava +
(Nuttall) Haworth +
Cactus fragilis +
proliferating +
flattened +  and cylindric +
Brittle pricklypear +  and little pricklypear +
Alta. +, B.C. +, Man. +, Ont. +, Sask. +, Ariz. +, Calif. +, Colo. +, Idaho +, Ill. +, Iowa +, Kans. +, Mich. +, Minn. +, Mont. +, Nebr. +, N.Mex. +, N.Dak. +, Okla. +, Oreg. +, S.Dak. +, Tex. +, Utah +, Wash. +, Wis. +  and Wyo. +
0-2400 m +
red +  and white +
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 />) +
spineless +  and stipitate +
burlike +  and spiny +
straight +
indehiscent +
persistent +, long +  and deciduous +
10mm;30mm +
proliferating +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
clavate +  and cylindric ovoid or obovoid +
fleshy +  and juicy or dry +
0.8 cm8 mm <br />0.008 m <br /> (1.5 cm15 mm <br />0.015 m <br />) +
0.1 cm1 mm <br />0.001 m <br /> (0.15 cm1.5 mm <br />0.0015 m <br />) +
inconspicuous +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br />) +
foveolate +  and reticulate +
Barren areas in grasslands, woodlands, sandy or gravelly soils, on outcrops of granite, limestone, or quartzite +
oblong +  and spatulate +
2 cm20 mm <br />0.02 m <br /> (2.6 cm26 mm <br />0.026 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 summer (late Jun-early Jul). +
ridgelike +  and nipple--shaped +
Suppl. Pl. Succ., +
3;2;2;30 +
tuberlike +
Tan (?) +  and Gray (?) +
0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br /> (0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br />) +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br />) +
oblong;subcircular +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br />) +
not sheathed +
7.5 cm75 mm <br />0.075 m <br /> (17 cm170 mm <br />0.17 m <br />) +
straight +
deciduous +  and persistent +
conspicuous +
with hairlike bristles +  and setose +
1 (?) +  and 6 (?) +
depressed +, terete +  and acicular +
0.1 cm1 mm <br />0.001 m <br /> (0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br />) +
hard +  and rigid +
decurrent +
winged +  and unsegmented +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
1.5 cm15 mm <br />0.015 m <br /> (2 cm20 mm <br />0.02 m <br />) +
1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br /> (1.5 cm15 mm <br />0.015 m <br />) +
2 cm20 mm <br />0.02 m <br /> (5.5 cm55 mm <br />0.055 m <br />) +
1.5 cm15 mm <br />0.015 m <br /> (3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br />) +
segmented +
woody +  and succulent +
Opuntia brachyarthra +  and Opuntia fragilis var. brach +
adventitious +
tuberlike +
epipetric +  and epiphytic +
Opuntia fragilis +
species +
dull +  and glossy +
segmented +
terrestrial;epiphytic or epipetric +
erect +  and trailing +