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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 13 | Cactaceae | Opuntia

4. Opuntia cochenillifera (Linnaeus) Miller, Gard. Dict., ed. 8. Opuntia No. 6. 1768.

胭脂掌 yan zhi zhang

Cactus cochenillifer Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 468. 1753; Nopalea cochenillifera (Linnaeus) Salm-Dyck.

Shrubs or small trees, 2-4 m tall. Trunk (when present) terete. Large joints green, elliptic to narrowly obovate, 8-40(-50) × 5-7.5(-15) cm, thick, margin entire, base and apex rounded. Areoles ca. 2 mm in diam. Spines usually absent, when present: 1-3 per areole, spreading, grayish tan, acicular, 3-9 mm; glochids early deciduous. Leaves conic, 3-4 mm, early deciduous. Flowers 1.2-1.5 cm in diam., erect. Sepaloids with brilliant red or green midrib, largest ones ovate-deltoid, 5-12 × 6-9 mm, margin entire, apex acute. Petaloids bright red, ovate to obovate, 1.3-1.5 × 0.6-1 cm, margin entire or undulate, apex rounded or acute. Filaments pink, 3-4 cm; anthers pink, ca. 1.5 mm. Style pink, 4-4.5 cm; stigmas 6-8, greenish, ca. 3 mm. Fruit red, ellipsoid, 3-5 × 2.5-3 cm, umbilicus developed but not conspicuous. Seeds gray or tannish, thickened discoid, ca. 3 mm in diam. Fl. Jul-Feb.

Slopes; low altitudes. S Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan [native to Mexico; widely introduced and escaped in tropical regions].

This species was first introduced to China in 1901. Some authorities now recognize this species in the genus Nopalea, as distinct from Opuntia, based on pollen-morphological differences.


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