ISI 2009-1. Airampoa picardoi (J. Marnier-Lapostolle) Doweld

This spunky little cactus is a representative of a South American group of diminutive opuntioids once referred to as the Airampo group of Opuntia. Alberto Frič published the genus Airampoa in 1929. However, under the impression that the name was not properly typified, Hunt and Iliff coined the name Tunilla (diminutive form of the Spanish vernacular tuna which refers to the larger platyopuntias) for this group (now elevated to generic status, based on molecular and morphological distinctions) and considered O. picardoi a synonym of T. erectoclada. Due to recent changes in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, Alessandro Guiggi has determined that the name Airampoa picardoi is valid after all. The genus differs from other flat-stemmed opuntioids not only in its small stature but also in its thin-walled fruits that dehisce by lateral slits and, according to Anderson, in its “unusually small, laterally compressed seeds with a distinctive, soft funicular envelope that is nearly glabrous”. There’s a selling point for you! Our offering has deep red flowers, rather than orange or yellow found in other forms, and came to us via Victor Tureček who obtained it from Barkev Gonjian who received it from Picardo who is commemorated in the specific epithet. Unfortunately, Picardo could not remember precisely where he collected it. Rooted cuts of HBG 98569, M Picardo s.n., collected somewhere in Salta Province, Argentina. $7.

Photo © 2009 by K. Zimmerman. Images may not be used elsewhere without permission.

Published in the Cactus and Succulent Journal, Vol. 81 (2), March - April, 2009