Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf.

Locations ofOpuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf. in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf.
Common Name
Eastern prickly-pear
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf. var. humifusa, in part
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Opuntia humifusa (Raf.) Raf.
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 humifusa (sensu stricto) is one of three species in the complex that occurs in Virginia. It primarily ranges from the eastern edge of the Appalachians to the Atlantic seaboard, and is apparently the most widespread Opuntia in Virginia. 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 humifusa has inconspicuous glochids, flowers that are entirely yellow, and, unlike our other two species, lacks long spines.
Dry sandy or rocky habitats, including xeric pastures and road banks, open maritime forests and dunes, sandhill woodlands, granite flatrocks, and exposed outcrops of mafic igneous and metamorphic rocks such as diabase, metabasalt, and actinolite schist; occasionally on shale barrens or in rocky limestone woodlands. Infrequent throughout, but locally common in some areas.
Native Status

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