ISI 2002-2. Opuntia echios Howell

This is one of the tree opuntias of the Galapagos that bristle with vivid yellow spines on elongate oblong pads to nearly a foot long. Obtained under this name from Abbey Garden Nursery in the early 1980s, it was said to be a rooted cutting from material collected originally on Española Is. (Hood Is.), the southernmost of the Galapagos Islands. According to the late Ted Anderson, if this data is accurate, this must be O. megasperma var. orientalis. However, the elongate pads and juvenile spination are different from mature growth of that species (or from that of O. echios for that matter) and descriptions of mature growth are what one finds in the literature. Therefore, the identity of this plant is uncertain until someone can grow it to maturity in a suitable tropical climate. In any case, its bristly golden armature backlit by the sun justifies even a small specimen in any opuntia collection, even if it is only a collection of one. Rooted cuts of HBG 65843. $8.50.

The paddle-shaped pads are nearly perfectly oval

Photo © 2002 by John N. Trager. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 74 (2), March - April, 2002