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

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Name: Paul
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
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).


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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
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
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)
Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Bee Lover Bookworm Adeniums Enjoys or suffers hot summers
Cactus and Succulents Container Gardener Hummingbirder Xeriscape Region: Arizona Region: Southwest Gardening
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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
southern California
Zone 8B/9A
Region: California Herbs
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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