Opuntia elatior Mill.

Red-flower Prickly-pear

Gard. Dict. no., edn 8, 4 (1768) APNI

Taxonomic status:Accepted

Occurrence status:Present

Establishment means:Naturalised

Erect shrub to 2.4 m high, trunk well-developed, to c. 170 cm high in older plants, c. 15 cm diam. Terminal cladodes compressed, obovate to elliptic, 28–40 cm long, 6.5–20 cm wide; light grey-green, often glaucous, smooth; margins sinuate; areoles 20–35 per cladode face, 1.5–5 cm apart, filled with pale yellow-brown glochids and pale brown wool; spines 2 or 3, to 4.5 cm long, to 1 mm wide near base, pale yellow-brown, ageing to grey-brown, erect, spreading or deflexed. Flowers 3–4 cm diam., sepaloids reddish-green, petaloids erect, bright red; filaments pale yellow below, crimson above; anthers pale yellow; hypanthium obovoid, smooth, weakly tuberculate, apex depressed; style crimson, stigma green. Fruits sterile, barrel-shaped to obovoid, 1.8–3.5 cm long, 2.3–3 cm diam., tuberculate, deep red, persistent, not proliferous. Flowers late spring–summer.

Also NT, SA, Qld, NSW. Opuntia elatior is known only from cultivation. Naturalised at Studley Park, Kew, where probably originally introduced as an ornamental planting (but record not substantiated by specimens).

Source: Stajsic, V.; Carr, G. W. (1996). Cactaceae. In: Walsh, N.G.; Entwisle, T.J. (eds), Flora of Victoria Vol. 3, Dicotyledons Winteraceae to Myrtaceae. Inkata Press, Melbourne (as Opuntia bergeriana A.Weber ex A.Berger).
Updated by: Val Stajsic, 2017-12-19
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life Life
kingdom Plantae
phylum Tracheophyta
superorder Caryophyllanae
family Cactaceae
genus Opuntia
Higher taxa