Opuntia mesacantha Raf. ssp. mesacantha

Locations ofOpuntia mesacantha Raf. ssp. mesacantha in Virginia

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Detail

Family
Cactaceae
Botanical Name
Opuntia mesacantha Raf. ssp. mesacantha
Common Name
Synonym(s)
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf., in part
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf. var. humifusa, in part
Comments
See Majure et al. (2017, Phytotaxa 290: 001-065) for a well supported revision of the Opuntia humifusa complex based on a combined approach using phylogenetic, evolutionary, ecological, and morphological concepts. Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha is one of three species in the complex that occurs in Virginia. Its primary range is the southeastern Coastal Plain, extending somewhat inland, especially in sandy soils and on granite outcrops. The type locality is in Hampton, Virginia (Chickering, 31 May 1878, at US). The map is incomplete at the present time, pending evaluation of extensive in-state herbarium material. See also map and comments under Opuntia humifusa complex.

Opuntia mesacantha ssp. mesacantha has conspicuous glochids, flowers that are entirely yellow, and some long spines, the latter character clearly distinguishing it from Opuntia humifusa growing in the same region.
Habitat
Dry sandy habitats; open maritime forests and dunes, sandhill woodlands, granite flatrocks, sandy roadsides and clearings. Probably locally frequent in the Coastal Plain, infrequent in the Piedmont, but further assessment is needed.
Native Status
Native

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