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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 4 | Cactaceae

6. Consolea Lemaire, Rev. Hort. 1862: 174. 1862.

[For Michelangelo Console, 1812-1897, of Palermo Botanic Garden, Italy]

Donald J. Pinkava

Opuntia Miller ser. Spinosissimae Britton & Rose

Trees, branched, 1-2[-10] m; trunk erect, indeterminate, unsegmented, terete to elliptic in cross section. Stem segments spreading, often falcate, usually elongate, smooth or distinctly reticulate, sometimes low tuberculate; areoles elliptic or triangular to subcircular, 5-15 mm diam.; wool yellow or tawny to cream. Spines absent or 2-25(-40) per areole, white to brownish yellow, aging gray to black, acicular, the longest (0.5-)4-10(-12) cm, with epidermis intact, not sheathed. Glochids in tuft at adaxial margin of areole, yellow to brownish. Flowers bisexual (at least appearing so) or functionally unisexual (staminate with closed stigmas or pistillate with no pollen), 2.5-4.5 cm diam.; inner tepals spreading, red [or yellow, orange], rather fleshy; stamens and style not exerted or slightly so; filaments yellow to orange or pinkish, aging pink to red, outer filaments sometimes fused into staminal ring; style and stigma lobes pinkish; ovary usually flattened and upturned (bilaterally symmetric), tuberculate or not; nectar chamber covered by near-basal lateral projection of styles. Pollen 12-porate, finely reticulate, foveolate. Fruits commonly proliferating, green, yellow, or reddish, ovoid or ellipsoid to obovoid, falcate, sometimes flattened proximally, elliptic in cross section, 40-65 × 30-45 mm, fleshy, spiny [or spineless]. Seeds yellowish white, 3-4(-9) mm diam., sides woolly; girdle yellowish, sharply protruding. x = 11.

Species 9 (1 in the flora): United States, West Indies.

Plants of Consolea are insect-pollinated.


Negrón-Ortiz, V. 1998. Reproductive biology of a rare cactus, Opuntia spinosissima (Cactaceae), in the Florida Keys: Why is seed set very low? Sexual Pl. Reprod. 11: 208-212.

Lower Taxon


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