Cactus Pose

So, while a nation slept… the Opuntia genus of cactuses expanded.
Somewhere back in the day, I learned that the only native cactus found this far north (and east) was the eastern prickly pear, Opuntia humifusa. (Some pictures of them in flower from summers past at Jamaica Bay.)

The taxonomists now say there is another local species, Opuntia cespitosa, also called the prickly pear or, more helpfully, the tufted prickly pear. They were until recently assumed to be a part of O. humifusa. The most obvious difference is that the tufted has pink to dark red patches in the base of the flowers. They also have spines.
See here for more details.

This all came up when I submitted the photo at the very top of this post to iNaturalist and called it prickly pear (humifosa). However, there are flowers this time of year, so that’s no help.

Intrigued, I went searching through my archive. What do you know, here are some cespitosa flowers! Unfortunately, I’m not a hundred percent sure where I took these photos. I strongly suspect the NYBG Native Garden, so I’d call them cultivated.

Did you see this fine essay on the bristlecone pines?

2 Responses to “Cactus Pose”

  1. 1 Leslie Farragher January 16, 2020 at 12:32 pm

    Thanks for the alert about the bristlecone pine essay!

  2. 2 Paul Lamb January 17, 2020 at 5:12 am

    i have some prickly pears at my Ozark cabin, which I cherish, but no bristlecone pine.

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