Opuntia in New Jersey

Opuntia humifusa is the more common cactus on the dunes in NJ.

  • Its flowers have no red in the center. It never has any spines.
  • Its areoles (the dark spots) should not have much in the way of obvious spined hairs (but this is subtle)

If it has red in the flowers or any spines it is probably O. caespitosa.

  • This is the much less common cactus of the Jersey Shore.
  • Pretty much all cacti with spines are this, but it can also completely lack spines.
  • It has flowers with red centers (always).
  • Its areoles (the dark spots) have lots of spiny hairs that should be relatively easy to see.

Note that there are two weird species of Opuntia on Long Beach Island and Brigantine.

  • O. durmmundii has tiny pieces to it
  • O. lindheimeri is very upright not sprawling as the main two

O. humifusa (yellow flowers):

O. caespitosa (I think) (spines):

Posted by srall srall, April 07, 2022 07:23 PM

Comments

Very informative post! I'm often looking for O. caespitosa on sandy cliffsides while hiking Northern NJ/Southern NY state. I was actually told in one of my observations that O humifusa could potentially have 1 one spine on a few areoles, and can be more prevalent in some population than others. . If that population is actually O humifusa, then it's the only population that I've ever seen with spines.

The observation in question: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75955029

Posted by tesgeorge 8 months ago (Flag)

These are only my notes; I'm by no means an expert. That linked observation does look like O. humifusa, very neat.

Posted by srall 8 months ago (Flag)

Yes, definitely strange since it doesn't appear to be very common. I'll have to try to find that population again a little later this year to see if the flowers are yellow or have some red in them.

Also, I didn't know there were other opuntia in NJ. I'll have to look for the other two next time I'm down that way. Great post!

Posted by tesgeorge 8 months ago (Flag)

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