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Opuntia

There are more cacti in this genus can any other and also widely found in many places from Canada to southern Argentina and West Indies to Galapagos Islands. Strangely enough, the name came from Opuntia, which is a town in Greece where apparently some grew. There are two features that split these from the other genus; segments and glochids. The segments can be either Platyopuntia, which means round, flattened joints. The other is Cylindropuntia, which are cylindrical joints. The glochids are small, barbed spines, which can be very irritating and the cacti has to be handled with great care. Sadly, Graeme found out when he was young, in fact it was 15 minutes before Lynford Christie won the gold medal in the Olympics at Barcelona 1992. As for size some of these grow to dwarf plants where others grow to the height of 100'.


Opuntia microdasys alba has a common set of names with two being Angel's Wings or Bunny Ears. Going back to the scientific name, alba relates to the white spines, etc. As mentioned above about Graeme sadly touching a plant and finding it not nice, this is it. Its length can grow to 18" but there are varieties, which can grow slightly higher. Sadly, the flowers did not completely show, but they would be a lemon yellow. The picture below is a variety and known as Opuntia microdasys monstrosus. It is thicker than the other and as seen, has a strange way of growing. Cuttings from these are easily grown, yet again as said, be careful of touching them and perhaps the better way is using a glove.

Optunia microdasys alba Optunia microdasys monstosus Optunia microdasys

Opuntia subulata, as seen, is a tree-like cacti and its height can be up to 13'. These are found in high elevations around Ecuador and Peru with the elevations being between 8,000-12,000'. The common name is Eve's Needles.

Opuntia subulata


This cactus I took as a cutting, but sadly no idea of its name other than Opuntia come first. The pictures are the same cacti, however from left to right you can see how its growth.

Opuntia (unknown) Opuntia (unknown) Opuntia (unknown)

It knows how to grow!


The following two photographs are the same odd shaped Opuntia vestita. It comes from Bolivia. The right-hand picture was taken three years after the left-hand side picture

Opuntia vestita Opuntia vestita

Another cacti whose name is beyond me, but I am sure part is Opuntia.

Opuntia ?


Repeat performance, but still think it is within Opuntia family. This, as well as many of those above, were cuttings sized about 2.5cm (1').

Opuntia ?


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