opuntia ficus-indica and engelmannii

heathjezAugust 15, 2006

hello. does anyone know of a definitive guide to opuntia, particularly ficus-indica and engelmannii varieties? I am a grad student working on a project with SW cacti and I am finding it very difficult to figure out the exact subspecies (varieties) of many of my plants. They were purchased a few years ago from a nursery in AZ, but I don't trust them b/c many were mislabeled. All the books/field guides/websites I have checked seem to contradict each other; for example, the images I have found of O. engelamnnii lindheimeri often look quite different from each other. Any help with this daunting task would be greatly appreciated!!

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That's a tough task you're working on- good luck! Opuntias are extremely variable, they tend to hybridize a lot, and it's a huge genus, all of which makes your project that much more challenging. Desert-tropicals.com lists 6 different varieties for O. engelmanii. As for O. ficus-indica, I'm not sure of how many varieties there are. Rivenrock.com lists 3 varieties for Indian Fig, but I'm not sure how valid those varieties are. I often see Opuntia ellisiana being sold as O. ficus-indica.

I guess I would recommend posting pics of your plants for identification. There are many amazing cactophiles on this forum who can probably id your plants from photos.


    Bookmark   August 15, 2006 at 6:02PM
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You might go to cactiguide.com and post pics in the ID section. Some very good eyes on that board.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 3:58AM
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thanks for the advice, cactus dude and fred grow! The hybridization factor does make it tougher to arrive at a positive id. I was going to post pics on this forum, but they are large plants that have been placed in a 7x14 arrangement for ovipostition trials. Therefore, all my pics are of just one plant and the forum only allows one image per post. I will try cactiguide.com. '
Thanks again!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 8:26PM
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