Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Opuntia ficus-indica linguiformis?!

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Name: Paul
AV, southern California
Zone 8B/9A, Mojave Desert
Region: California
cahdg6891
Sep 5, 2016 9:47 PM CST
Here is a young Opuntia ficus-indica I planted this year. It is very interesting, all of its new stem segments have the 'cow tongue' look. Has anyone had this happen on their O. ficus-indica before? All of my other OFIs have regular looking pads. This particular one is a 'Burbank Spineless' (although it does have some tiny spines despite the name).


Thumb of 2016-09-06/cahdg6891/4504e3

Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
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mcvansoest
Sep 6, 2016 2:04 PM CST
I have seen O. f-i. linguiformis varieties but those usually are completely in that form and do not spontaneously acquire it. Could it be that the new pads on this plant are a little elongated because they are reaching for more sunlight? I have seen this happen in O. f-i. especially if it is adjusting to a new location, growing new roots, etc. If it is that it will go away over time.

Name: Paul
AV, southern California
Zone 8B/9A, Mojave Desert
Region: California
cahdg6891
Sep 6, 2016 2:39 PM CST
Definitely not lack of sunlight, it's been in full sun since it was a little thing. Opuntiads.com also has photos of Opuntia ficus-indica that have pads that revert to ones that resemble O. streptacantha. I wonder if that sort of thing is happening with this one, or new root growth or location as you suggested. I didn't know that new root growth could cause the pads to change in such a way! I've seen single crested pads form on new plants before but have never seen every single new pad change or seen linguiformis type pads on an Opuntia ficus-indica until now.
[Last edited by cahdg6891 - Sep 6, 2016 2:42 PM (+)]
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Name: Thijs van Soest
Mesa, AZ (Zone 9b)
Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape
Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening Seed Starter Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover
Image
mcvansoest
Sep 6, 2016 4:08 PM CST
You are right that it does look a little strange with all of them doing almost exactly the same thing. I have seen chunks that were broken off and on the ground for a a few weeks try and grow a new pad or two that got really elongate and linguiformis looking - even without any rooting activity going, so I associate that shape on an otherwise normal looking O. f-i. with stress induced pad growth hence my mention of growing new/more roots, reaching for more light or reaction to changed conditions.

There are some really nice looking O. f-i. linguiformis plants in my neighborhood - every time I walk by I keep meaning to ask if I can have a pad to start my own plant, but it is usually early in the morning while walking the dog, so not a good time to ring the door bell and ask for a piece of some people's plant ;)

I am thinking the plant will either grow out of it, or maybe it will not and acquire a linguiformis character. The latter would be strange, given that it is happening to multiple new pads from multiple old pads (meaning a spontaneous mutation is unlikely to be the cause)
Name: Paul
AV, southern California
Zone 8B/9A, Mojave Desert
Region: California
cahdg6891
Sep 7, 2016 1:13 AM CST
Yes, after I transplanted it I didn't pay much attention to it and did a double-take when I actually stopped and noticed how the new pads were different. Should be interesting to see how it develops and whether the next set of pads are linguiformis or not, although I might not find out until next year because the growing season is coming to an end soon. Thumbs down I think you are correct about it being a reaction to stress from rooting. I had no idea root stress could do that to them. There were two of them in the pot when I bought them and when I went to transplant them a few weeks later, I had to pry the roots apart with a trowel and severed a fair amount of them I imagine. The other one has normal shaped pads interestingly enough, although I don't know if they are clones from the same parent plant or from different ones. Hopefully this one will decide to keep the linguiformis shape.

I know the feeling lol! A house not far from me has a massive O. engelmannii or lindheimeri linguiformis that grows through their gate and nearly into the street. Before I got one myself I would debate every time I went by whether to ask for a cutting or not Big Grin

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