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Name: Brian
Ontario Canada (Zone 5b)
Sep 7, 2012 9:29 AM CST
I know this isn't a tender cacti but I can't seem to find a forum for hardy cacti. I was wondering if anyone grows Opuntia fragilis? It's native to the northern mid west and southern parts of the Canadian prairies. I've had some in my garden now for at least 8 years and I have never seen one single flower. Does this species flower? All my other hardy cacti have flowered and in much less time than 8 years. The clump is about 16 inches in diameter and 4 to 5 inches high. If it does flower what colour are they?
South Texas (Zone 9a)
Region: United States of America Region: Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Cactus and Succulents Purslane
Sep 8, 2012 12:09 PM CST
Hello Brian

All species of Opuntia produce flowers.

Here pictures of Opuntia fargilis with flower in British Colombia

Many species of Opuntia developed a successful way of vegetative propagation. Opuntia fragilis
In some area for some species of Opuntia this is the first mechanism of multiplication. Opuntia fragilis it is in this situation in many habitat where they live.
In such habitat the population can be genetic identically and this is not favorable for sexual multiplication. That means by seeds.
I think that Int such situation it is possible they don't flower or have a rare flowering.
If it is so, capacity of flowering depend much of location from where the plants are. So for cultivated plants it is important the location from where they ancestors was colected.

Do you know the origin location of yours plants?

Opuntia fragilis live in few point in Ontario, Canada. This populations of Opuntia fragilis It is a mystery. I read that they are identical genetic and that show they was introduced in the area and was naturalized.
Some are known like Kaladar Cactus and are famous becaouse they live close to the Arctic Circle.

Here some links:

Page of Dr.Eric Ribbens an authority in the Opuntia field

Some interesting note here (mention about 'infrequency of flowering')

Here a very nice picture

(Opuntia fragilis like many other species in the genus Opuntia have a big variability )

Here very intersting pictures (first five pictures) of Opuntia fragilis in habitat in Ontario, in one(the five picture) they have flower buds.

Maybe if you want to have Opuntia fragilis that blooms frequently a good idea is to get plants from locations where they bloom more regularly. But it is advisable to be form northern locations. Cold resistance of populations depends on the location of origin.

But that does not mean your plants are not interesting even if they are flowers. Even more considering the mystery of Opuntia in Ontario they can be very interesting.

Another possibility for the plants do not flower can be a lack in terms of culture. Is common in warmer areas that are not given proper rest they need winter and cacti are not flowers. But that's less interesting version Smiling

I think it would be interesting pictures of your Opuntia.
Do not worry about the word "tender" on forum name. In this case I think it reflects more the love of succulent plant lovers for their plants and not a narrow topic.


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