Opuntia stricta - Galveston Bay, Texas
Opuntia stricta is relatively common in the Southeastern USA, growing in Texas, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Georgia as well as other parts of Central America and the West Indies. It is often found along coastal margins, sometimes growing in the sand right down to the dunes near sea level and has a high tolerance of moisture and salt. It is a variable species and this form is from Galveston, Texas and is often sold by nurseries as Opuntia bentonii - Galveston, TX. As well as being tolerant of wet conditions it is also remarkably cold tolerant and is hardy in the UK and Europe down to at least -18 C if given a very well-drained alkaline soil.
Opuntia stricta grows vigourously to about 2m with an erect bushy or sprawling decumbent or prostrate habit, the basal stem-segments often thickening to form a trunk. It has large rather attractive cladodes that are relatively lightly-spined. On older pads the spines are often absent. It has yellow flowers with yellow stigmas and elongated purplish-red edible fruit.
The Opuntia bentonii form described by Griffiths in 1912 has been subsumed into Opuntia stricta, first described by Haworth in 1812. Griffiths named his type species from a cultivated specimen originally collected by Harmon Benton at McClenny, Florida in 1906.
|Synonyms||Cactus dillenii, Cactus strictus, Consolea bahamana, Opuntia airampo, Opuntia anahuacensis, Opuntia atrocapensis, Opuntia bahamana, Opuntia bartramii, Opuntia bentonii, Opuntia cyanella, Opuntia dillenii, Opuntia gilvoalba, Opuntia gomei, Opuntia horrida, Opuntia humilis, Opuntia inermis, Opuntia keyensis, Opuntia laxiflora, Opuntia longiclada, Opuntia macrarthra, Opuntia magnifica, Opuntia maritima, Opuntia nitens, Opuntia ochrocentra var. inermis, Opuntia parva, Opuntia spinalba, Opuntia stricta var. dillenii, Opuntia tenuiflora, Opuntia tunoides, Opuntia vulgaris var. balearica, Opuntia zebrina|
|Geographical Origin||Central America, West Indies, USA: this form is from Galveston Bay, Texas|
|Cultivation||Full sun. Well-drained gritty alkaline substrate|
|Eventual Height||2 m|
|Eventual Spread||2-3 m|
|Hardiness||Hardy down to at least -18C if given free-draining substrate|
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