Opuntia aurea

E. M. Baxter

Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 5: 489, fig. s.n. (p. 489). 1933.

Synonyms: Opuntia basilaris var. aurea (E. M. Baxter) W. T. Marshall Opuntia erinacea var. aurea (E. M. Baxter) S. L. Welsh
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Mentioned on page 145.

Shrubs, forming low clumps or with trailing branches, 10–30 cm. Stem segments not disarticulating, green to blue-green, flattened, elliptic to obovate, 6–15 × 5–12 cm, low tuberculate, papillate; areoles 7–11 per diagonal row across midstem segment, subcircular to elliptic, 3–5 × 2–4 mm; wool tan. Spines absent or only l spine in 1–few distal areoles, deflexed, yellow to gray, straight, terete, to 10 mm. Glochids in dense crescent at adaxial margin of areole and dense subapical tuft, yellow, to 6 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow throughout (magenta in introgressed plants), 25–30 mm; filaments white to yellow; anthers yellow; style white; stigma lobes green. Fruits tan to gray, 25–30 × 15–20 mm, dry, spineless; areoles 12–18. Seeds tan, subspheric to irregularly shaped, flattened, very large, 9–12 mm diam.; girdle thick, protruding 2.5–3.5 mm. 2n = 66.

Phenology: Flowering late spring (May–Jun).
Habitat: Pinyon-juniper woodlands, red sands
Elevation: 1500-1800 m


Opuntia aurea forms hybrids with O. polyacantha var. erinacea and O. phaeacantha, and forms hybrid swarms with O. pinkavae (B. D. Parfitt 1991).

Selected References


Lower Taxa