Opuntia dillenii Ker Gawl Haworth

[From Greek, opunte = a city of ancient Greece and Johann Jacob Dillenius (1648-1747), a German botanist and Professor of Botany at Oxford]

Synonymy: Cactus indicus Roxb.

Common names: Prickly pear, slipper thorn; kalazaw (Burmese); raquette, figue de Barbarie (French); palmatoria d'inferno (Portuguese); guda (Sanskrit); kalli (Tamil).

Maworth.

(a) Opuntia dillenii (Ker-Gawl.)

Maworth.

(a) Opuntia dillenii (Ker-Gawl.)

Physical description: It is a shrubby cactus which grows to a height of 2 m. It is native to Central America. The plant is ornamental and cultivated as such throughout the tropics. The stems are 30cm-40cm x 15cm-20cm, broadly obovate, undulate, succulent, spiny and bluish. The leaves are 3.8 mm long, pale green, and conical. The areoles are large, and bear 4-6, 2.5cm-3.8cm prickles each. There are several 1.3cm long yellowish glochidia. The flowers are 7.5 cm long, yellow, and tinged with orange. The perianth is rotate and reddish. The stamens are numerous and longer than the corolla. The style is stout, and there are 5-8 erect stigmas. The fruits consist of pyriform berries, which are truncate, depressed at the apex, deep reddish-purple when ripe and bearing tiny tufts of glochidia [Fig. 58(a)].

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