Opuntia aureispina

(S. Brack & K. D. Heil) Pinkava & B. D. Parfitt

J. Arizona-Nevada Acad. Sci. 33: 150. 2001.

Basionym: Opuntia macrocentra var. aureispina S. Brack & K. D. Heil Cact. Succ. J. (Los Angeles) 60: 17, fig. 4. 1988
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 4. Mentioned on page 143.

Shrubs or trees, with short spiny trunks, erect, to 1(–1.5) m. Stem segments not disarticulating, light blue-green to yellow-green, flattened, circular to obovate, 8–12 × 8–12 cm, glaucous, ± tuberculate, glabrous; areoles 6–8 per diagonal row across midstem segment, oblong, 4–5 × 1–3 mm; wool brown to blackish. Spines usually 4–12 per areole, evenly distributed on stem segments, spreading, bright yellow to orange, red-brown at extreme base, aging tan to blackish, not chalky white, acicular; major spines (1–)3–5(–6) per areole, sometimes flattened and/or curved, 20–60 mm; smaller spines 1–7 per areole, slender, to 20 mm. Glochids well spaced in very narrow row encircling areole, subapical tuft not or poorly developed, yellow, unequal in length, to 5 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow with orange to red bases, obovate, 30–40 mm; filament yellow to pale green; anthers pale yellow; style yellow, sometimes basally pinkish; stigma lobes green. Fruits green to reddish, turning tan, burlike, 30–40 × 20–25 mm, beginning fleshy, quickly drying, glabrous, bearing several rigid, yellow spines; areoles 12–25. Seeds tan, flattened, irregular in outline, 3–6 mm diam.; girdle protruding to 1 mm. 2n = 22.

Phenology: Flowering spring (May).
Habitat: Limestone desert flats, low hills
Elevation: 500-600 m


Opuntia aureispina hybridizes with O. phaeacantha (= O. ×spinosibacca M. S. Anthony) and O. macrocentra (= O. ×rooneyi M. P. Griffith).

Selected References


Lower Taxa