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Project Name Data (Last Modified On 11/29/2012)

Flora Data (Last Modified On 11/29/2012)
Genus OPUNTIA [Tourn.] Mill.
PlaceOfPublication Gard. Dict. ed. 4. 1754.
Synonym Consolea Lem. Rev. Hort. 1862:174. 1862. Tephrocactus Lem. Cact. 88. 1868. Ficindica St. Lag. in Ann. Soc. Bot. Lyon 7:70. 1880.
Description Succulent shrubs, small trees, and subshrubs; stems phylloid and jointed when young, the joints fleshy, compressed and oval to broadly linguiform in our species, bearing amphigenous areoles armed with hairs, glochids, and spines, very rarely un- armed. Leaves inconspicuous, acicular and fugacious. Flowers sessile, chiefly marginal upon the young joints; perianth broadly campanulate, with a short and broad hypanthium, the segments numerous, the outer progressively shorter and less petaloid than the inner, widely spreading; stamens very numerous, the filaments much shorter than the perianth, united at different levels into a shallow glandular cup, somewhat deflexed at anthesis, sensitive and inflexed upon stimulation; ovary turbinate to cylindric, concave, the areoles prominent; style slightly longer than the stamens, terete to fusiform. Fruit a fleshy berry with numerous seeds.
Habit shrub tree
Note Very many species, all indigenous to the Americas, but some, particularly 0. ficus-indica, introduced and escaping in the dry tropics and subtropics of the East- ern Hemisphere where their exuberent growth has made them a serious pest in many areas. In Mexico, where the genus is most diversified and frequent, various species, particularly 0. ficus-indica and 0. tuna, are cultivated under the name of nopal and the fruits, called tunas, eaten as a delicacy. Although tunas are marketed in the United States, chiefly in the southwest, the large usually rather insipid berries have not attained much popularity.
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