Opuntia phaeacantha

Engelmann

Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. 4: 51. 1849.

Common names: Brown-spined pricklypear
Illustrated
Synonyms: Opuntia angustata Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow Opuntia phaeacantha var. brunnea Enge lmann Opuntia phaeacantha var. laevis (J. M. Coulter) L. D. Benson Opuntia phaeacantha var. major Engelmann Opuntia superbospina
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Mentioned on page 139.

Shrubs, decumbent to commonly trailing, 0.3–1 m. Stem segments not disarticulating, green to dark green, sometimes reddish under stress, flattened, obovate to circular, 10–25 × 7–20 cm, low tuberculate, glabrous; areoles 5–7 per diagonal row across midstem segment, obovate to elliptic, 3–6 × 2–4 mm; wool tan to brown, aging grayish. Spines (0–) 2–8 per areole, at most areoles to only distal 1/4 of stem segment, or essentially absent, brown to white, straight, curved, or spirally twisted; major central spines deflexed or spreading, brown to redbrown (to blackish), or partly to wholly gray to tan, subulate, usually flattened near base, 30–80 mm; abaxial spines usually 1–3, deflexed, white, flattened, shorter, to 20 mm. Glochids dense in crescent at adaxial edge of areole and subapical tuft, tan to redbrown, to 5 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow with red basal portions (rarely entirely pink to red), 30–40 mm; filaments greenish basally, pale-yellow to white distally; anthers yellow; style white; stigma lobes green to yellow-green. Fruits wine red to purple, with greenish flesh (sometimes reddish and ± juicy), not long stipitate, obovate to barrel-shaped, 30–50 × 20–30 mm, fleshy, glabrous, spineless; areoles 18–24. Seeds tan, subcircular, 4–5 mm diam., evidently notched, warped; girdle protruding 1 mm. 2n = 66.


Phenology: Flowering late spring (Apr–Jul).
Habitat: Deserts, chaparral, surrounding mountains, plains, sandy to rocky soils
Elevation: 200-2100 m

Distribution

V4 262-distribution-map.gif

Ariz., Calif., Colo., Kans., Nev., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., Utah, Mexico

Discussion

Much of the material formerly assigned to varieties of Opuntia phaeacantha has been segregated as O. engelmannii. Various combinations of overlapping character states make separation of O. phaeacantha var. major from var. phaeacantha impractical. Presumably var. major comprises sprawling to erect shrubs with obovate stem segments bearing usually few darker colored spines (usually one to three) per areole, in the distal half of the stem segment or less, whereas plants of var. phaeacantha are trailing shrubs with narrowly obovate stem segments bearing more spines (usually three to ten) per areole throughout most to all of the stem segment. Recently some workers have applied O. camanchica Engelmann & Bigelow to those plants with the very dark colored spines and merged vars. major and phaeacantha. Distinctions among taxa are further blurred by hybridization of O. phaeacantha with O. engelmannii, yielding several named and unnamed hybrids, including O. wootonii Griffiths. Morphologic and genetic analyses of the populations are needed before correct names can be assigned to many of these plants with confidence.

Opuntia phaeacantha also hybridizes with O. aureispina (forming O. ×spinosibacca), O. ficus-indica, and O. littoralis (forming O. ×vaseyi), and members of the O. polyacantha complex, particularly near the regions of Grand Canyon and Four Corners.

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.

... more about "Opuntia phaeacantha"
curved +  and straight +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (2 cm20 mm <br />0.02 m <br />) +
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 +
0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br /> (0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br />) +
18 +  and 24 +
obovate +  and elliptic +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br />) +
Donald J. Pinkava +
Engelmann +
brown +  and redbrown or +
spreading +  and deflexed +
flattened +  and subulate +
3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br /> (8 cm80 mm <br />0.08 m <br />) +
proliferating +
flattened +  and cylindric +
Brown-spined pricklypear +
Ariz. +, Calif. +, Colo. +, Kans. +, Nev. +, N.Mex. +, Okla. +, Tex. +, Utah +  and Mexico +
200-2100 m +
pale-yellow +  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 +
wine red;purple +
straight +
indehiscent +
persistent +, long +  and deciduous +
30mm;50mm +
proliferating +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
obovate +  and barrel-shaped +
2 cm20 mm <br />0.02 m <br /> (3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br />) +
1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br /> (?) +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br />) +
foveolate +  and reticulate +
Deserts, chaparral, surrounding mountains, plains, sandy to rocky soils +
oblong +  and spatulate +
3 cm30 mm <br />0.03 m <br /> (4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 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 late spring (Apr–Jul). +
ridgelike +  and nipple--shaped +
Mem. Amer. Acad. Arts, n. s. +
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;notched;subcircular +
0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br /> (0.7 cm7 mm <br />0.007 m <br />) +
Illustrated +
not sheathed +
7.5 cm75 mm <br />0.075 m <br /> (17 cm170 mm <br />0.17 m <br />) +
dark-brown +  and black +
deciduous +  and persistent +
conspicuous +
with hairlike bristles +  and setose +
2 (?) +  and 8 (?) +
terete +  and angular-flattened +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (7.5 cm75 mm <br />0.075 m <br />) +
hard +  and rigid +
decurrent +
winged +  and unsegmented +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
not disarticulating +
60 cm600 mm <br />0.6 m <br /> (120 cm1,200 mm <br />1.2 m <br />) +
reddish +, green +  and dark green +
10 cm100 mm <br />0.1 m <br /> (25 cm250 mm <br />0.25 m <br />) +
7 cm70 mm <br />0.07 m <br /> (20 cm200 mm <br />0.2 m <br />) +
segmented +
woody +  and succulent +
green +  and yellow-green +
Opuntia angustata +, Opuntia phaeacantha var. brunnea +, Opuntia phaeacantha var. laevis +, Opuntia phaeacantha var. major +  and Opuntia superbospina +
adventitious +
tuberlike +
epipetric +  and epiphytic +
Opuntia phaeacantha +
species +
dull +  and glossy +
yellow +  and paler +
segmented +
terrestrial;epiphytic or epipetric +
decumbent +  and commonly trailing +
grayish +, tan +  and brown +