Opuntia tortispina

Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow

Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 293. 1856.

Common names: Plains pricklypear
Endemic
Synonyms: Opuntia cymochila Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow Opuntia mackensenii Rose Opuntia tortispina var. cymochila (Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow) Backeberg
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Treatment on page 132. Mentioned on page 127, 133.

Shrubs, low, to 0.4 m, creeping from clumps, sometimes from thickened rootstocks. Stem segments not easily detached, pale green to deep green, graying with age, wrinkled when stressed, flattened, broadly obovate to ovate, 6.5–15 × 4–10 cm, tuberculate, glossy, glabrous; areoles 6–9 per diagonal row across midstem segment, oval, obovate, or subcircular, 2.5–5 × 1.5–4 mm; wool tan, aging brown. Spines 1–9 on most areoles to only on distal 1/2 of stem segment, white to gray with pale-brown tips and bases, sometimes brown throughout; central spines 1–3, all deflexed or 1–2 porrect or ascending, terete or flattened, occasionally spirally twisted, 25–70 mm; small spines (2–) 3–6 (–8) strongly deflexed, usually slender, even bristlelike, 5–15 mm. Glochids forming a well developed adaxial tuft, yellow to brownish white, to 6 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow to gold, commonly darker to red near base, broadly spatulate, 30–40 mm, apiculate; filaments usually pale-yellow; anthers yellow; style whitish to pale green; stigma lobes greenish. Fruits purple-red, oval to broadly ovate, subspheric or short ovoid, bases not narrowed, 30 × 20–25 mm, fleshy, base not narrowed, glabrous, spineless or nearly so; umbilicus deep; areoles 18–30. Seeds whitish to tan, irregularly shaped, flattened, 4–6 × 3–4 mm; girdle protruding 1–2 mm. 2n = 44, 66.


Phenology: Flowering spring–early summer (Apr–Jul).
Habitat: Grass-lands, pinyon-juniper-oak woodlands, sandy or shaley flats, rocky hills
Elevation: 1400-1800 m

Distribution

V4 247-distribution-map.gif

Colo., Kans., Nebr., N.Mex., Okla., Tex., Wyo.

Discussion

Opuntia tortispina is apparently of hybrid origin. It has intermediate character states from its putative parents, O. macrorhiza (fleshy and spineless fruits) and O. polyacantha (areoles with basal deflexed spines and barrel-shaped fruits). The spirally twisted spines, which the specific epithet implies, are not at all characteristic for this species. When O. tortispina and O. cymochila are considered conspecific, the former has priority, as first selected by N. L. Britton and J. N. Rose (1919–1923, vol. 1).

One favored hypothesis as to the origins is that the O. humifusa-O. macrorhiza-O. pottsii complex spread across the United States from the east coast to Arizona. Opuntia polyacantha originated in north-central Mexico and spread northward. Tetraploid O. macrorhiza came into contact with the east flank of O. polyacantha and hybridized (probably repeatedly, even at present), producing the highly variable taxon referred to here as O. tortispina, which then spread eastward onto the plains. Opuntia tortispina has hexaploid members, presumably from unions of reduced and unreduced gametes. Those hexaploids apparently hybridize with hexaploid O. phaeacantha and add further to variation of O. tortispina. Many of these variations have been formally named or since treated as synonyms of O. macrorhiza.

Selected References

None.

Lower Taxa

None.
... more about "Opuntia tortispina"
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 +
0.25 cm2.5 mm <br />0.0025 m <br /> (0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br />) +
18 +  and 30 +
subcircular +, obovate +  and oval +
0.15 cm1.5 mm <br />0.0015 m <br /> (0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br />) +
Donald J. Pinkava +
Engelmann & J. M. Bigelow +
nearly +  and spineless +
30 cm300 mm <br />0.3 m <br /> (?) +
not narrowed +
20mm;25mm +
ascending +, porrect +  and deflexed +
flattened +  and terete +
2.5 cm25 mm <br />0.025 m <br /> (7 cm70 mm <br />0.07 m <br />) +
proliferating +
flattened +  and cylindric +
Plains pricklypear +
Colo. +, Kans. +, Nebr. +, N.Mex. +, Okla. +, Tex. +  and Wyo. +
1400-1800 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 />) +
spineless +  and stipitate +
burlike +  and spiny +
straight +
indehiscent +
persistent +, long +  and deciduous +
10mm;120mm +
proliferating +
tuberculate +  and smooth +
ovoid +, short +, subspheric +, oval +  and broadly ovate +
fleshy +  and juicy or dry +
0.8 cm8 mm <br />0.008 m <br /> (12 cm120 mm <br />0.12 m <br />) +
0.1 cm1 mm <br />0.001 m <br /> (0.2 cm2 mm <br />0.002 m <br />) +
0 cm0 mm <br />0 m <br /> (0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br />) +
foveolate +  and reticulate +
Grass-lands, pinyon-juniper-oak woodlands, sandy or shaley flats, rocky hills +
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 spring–early summer (Apr–Jul). +
ridgelike +  and nipple--shaped +
Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts +
3;2;2;30 +
tuberlike +
Whitish (?) +  and Tan (?) +
0.04 cm0.4 mm <br />4.0e-4 m <br /> (1.2 cm12 mm <br />0.012 m <br />) +
0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br /> (0.6 cm6 mm <br />0.006 m <br />) +
flattened;irregularly--shaped +
0.3 cm3 mm <br />0.003 m <br /> (0.4 cm4 mm <br />0.004 m <br />) +
7.5 cm75 mm <br />0.075 m <br /> (17 cm170 mm <br />0.17 m <br />) +
brown +, white +  and gray +
deciduous +  and persistent +
conspicuous +
with hairlike bristles +  and setose +
3 (?) +  and 6 (?) +
terete +  and angular-flattened +
0.5 cm5 mm <br />0.005 m <br /> (1.5 cm15 mm <br />0.015 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 />) +
graying +, pale green +  and deep green +
6.5 cm65 mm <br />0.065 m <br /> (15 cm150 mm <br />0.15 m <br />) +
tuberculate +  and wrinkled +
4 cm40 mm <br />0.04 m <br /> (10 cm100 mm <br />0.1 m <br />) +
segmented +
woody +  and succulent +
whitish +  and pale green +
Opuntia cymochila +, Opuntia mackensenii +  and Opuntia tortispina var. cymochila +
adventitious +
tuberlike +
epipetric +  and epiphytic +
Opuntia tortispina +
species +
dull +  and glossy +
pale-brown +
segmented +
terrestrial;epiphytic or epipetric +
erect +  and trailing +
brown +  and tan +