chain-fruit cholla, more...
[Opuntia fulgida Engelm.]
1-3 m; trunk divaricately branching; crown many branch-ed, spreading. Stem segments
whorled or subwhorled, gray-green, often drying blackish, ± spiny throughout, terminal ones easily dislodged, 6-16(-23) × 2-3.5 cm; tubercles salient, broadly oval, 0.8-1.3(-1.9) cm; areoles obdeltate, 5-7(-10) × 2.5-4 mm; wool gold to tan, aging gray to black. Spines
0-12(-18) per areole, at most areoles to nearly absent, yellowish, sometimes also pale pinkish, aging brown, interlaced or not with spines of adjacent areoles; abaxial spines erect to deflexed, spreading, flattened basally, the longest to 3.5 cm; adaxial spines erect or spreading, terete to subterete, longest to 2.5 cm; sheaths uniformly whitish, yellowish to golden, baggy. Glochids
in adaxial tuft, sometimes also scattered along areole margins, yellow, 1-3 mm. Flowers:
inner tepals usually reflexed, pink to magenta, obovate to ligulate, 12-16 mm, apiculate emarginate; filaments pale pink to magenta; anthers white to cream; style pinkish; stigma lobes whitish to pale yellow. Fruits
proliferating, forming long, branching, pendent chains, at maturity gray-green, often stipitate, obconic, fleshy, shallowly tuberculate, usually spineless; basal fruits 32-55 × 23-45 mm; terminal fruits 2-3.3 × 1.3-2.3 cm; tubercles becoming obscure; umbilicus to 8 mm deep; areoles 18-35. Seeds
pale yellow to brownish, angular to very irregular in outline, warped, 1.9 × 1.5-3.5 mm, sides with 1-2 large depressions, hilum pointed; girdle smooth. Intermediates are known between the varieties, which are largely sympatric in northern portion of range of the species. Cylindropuntia fulgida
forms hybrids with C. spinosior
(see 6. C
) and C. leptocaulis
. Hybrids, which are rare in south-central Arizona, have stems of intermediate diameter, (0-)1-5 spines per areole, one spine much longer than others, and spineless, yellowing, and often reddish fruits in chains of four to six, or more.
Plant: Tree 1-3 m tall, the trunks divaricately branching, the crown much-branched, spreading; STEM segments gray-green, often drying blackish, the terminal ones easily dislodged, 6-16(-23) cm long, 2-3.5 cm in diam.; tubercles salient, broadly oval, 8-13(-19) mm long. AREOLES gold- to tan-felty, aging gray to black, obdeltoid, 5-7(-10) mm long, 2.5-4 mm wide Leaves: SPINES 0-12(-18) per areole, yellowish, sometimes also pale pinkish, aging brown, interlaced or not; sheaths uniformly whitish, yellowish to golden, baggy; distal spines erect-spreading, terete to subterete, largest spine to 3 cm long; basal spines erect to deflexed, spreading, flattened basally, the largest to 3.5 cm long. GLOCHIDS yellow, in an apical tuft, sometimes also scattered along areole margins, 1-3 mm long Flowers: opening in late afternoon or evening; inner tepals pink to magenta, obovate to ligulate, apiculate emarginate, 12-16 mm long; filaments pale pink to magenta, the anthers white to cream; style pinkish; stigmas whitish to pale yellow Fruit: gray-green, obconic, often stipitate, proliferating, forming long, branching, pendulous chains, fleshy, spineless, the tubercles becoming obscure, with umbilicus to 8 mm deep; basal fruits 32-55 long, 23-45 mm in diam.; terminal fruits 20-33 mm long, 13-23 mm in diam.; areoles 18-35; SEEDS 1.8-5.5 mm long, 1.5-.5 mm wide, pale yellow to brownish, in a gelatinous mass, angular to very irregular in outline, warped, the sides smooth, each with 1-2 large depressions, girdle smooth, the hilum region pointed Misc: Sandy desert flats to rocky slopes of rolling hillsides; 200-1100 m (600-3600 ft); Apr-Sep REFERENCES: Pinkava, Donald J. 1999. Cactaceae. Ariz. – Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).