2. Opuntia ficus-indica (Linnaeus) Miller, Gard. Dict., ed. 8. Opuntia No. 2. 1768.
梨果仙人掌 li guo xian ren zhang
Cactus ficus-indica Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 468. 1753; C. chinensis Roxburgh; Opuntia chinensis (Roxburgh) K. Koch.
Shrubs erect or small trees, 1.5-5 m tall. Trunk (when present) terete. Joints dull green or grayish green, broadly to narrowly obovate, elliptic, or oblong, (20-)25-60 × 7-20 cm, thick. Areoles usually narrowly elliptic, 2-4.5 mm. Spines usually absent, sometimes 1-6 per areole, spreading or deflexed, bristlelike or acicular, 0.3-3.2 cm, basally flattened; glochids yellow, early deciduous. Leaves conic, 3-4 mm, early deciduous. Flowers 5-8 cm in diam. Sepaloids yellow with reddish or green center, broadly ovate or obovate, to 2 cm, margin entire or denticulate, apex truncate or acute, mucronate. Petaloids spreading, yellow to orange, obovate to oblong-obovate, 2.5-3.5 × 1.5-2 cm, margin entire or erose, apex rounded, truncate, mucronate, or emarginate. Filaments yellowish, ca. 6 mm; anthers yellow, 1.2-1.5 mm. Style greenish, ca. 15 mm; stigmas (6-)7-10, cream, 3-4 mm. Fruit yellow, orange, or purplish, 5-10 × 4-9 cm, umbilicus low and concave. Seeds gray or tan, elliptic-orbicular, 4-5 × 3.5-4 mm. Fl. May-Jun.
Hot dry valleys, rocks; 600-2900 m. W Guangxi, SW Guizhou, SW Sichuan, SE Xizang, Yunnan [of cultivated origin in Mexico ca. 9000 years ago; widely introduced as a hedge or for its edible young joints and fruit; naturalized in tropical and subtropical regions].
This species was first introduced to China in 1645.