OpuntiasOpuntia violacea v santa-rita (cristate)
Opuntias are one of the most widespread, yet in cultivation one of the least regarded genera of cacti. Their bad name results from two main characteristics - many of them outgrow their welcome in the limited space of a greenhouse and secondly they can be downright dangerous! On the other hand, anyone who has seen huge clumps of the characteristic flat padded types of Opuntia in habitat, covered by literally hundreds of large showy flowers, will regard them in a different light. Unfortunately, in the UK, getting most species to flower requires free root run and lots of valuable space.

It should be noted that within the broader sense of Opuntia there are some sought after miniatures, particular the Tephrocactus species.

Both the photographs were taken in the Boyce-Thompson Arboretum, near Phoenix, Arizona. The unidentified species on the left shows the flower power of these plants, while the O. violacea v santa-rita shows a cristate and also, how beautifully some species colour up in good light.

Photographs by : John Ellis

Return to thumbnails.....Return to Thumbnails

The copyright for all pictures on this site remains the property of the BCSS Teesside Branch and the original photographer. Anyone wishing to reproduce any of them for whatever reason, either as hard copies or for website use, should e-mail their request giving full details of the intended use. Such requests will generally be looked upon favourably provided they are for none commercial purposes.