Cactus and Succulents forum: Can someone identify?

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Whitney250
Apr 30, 2018 9:42 AM CST
Hi, I have two purple prickly pears that I'm having trouble identifying. I have a Santa Rita, and these two look completely different from each other and the Santa Rita. I just call them Unicorn Cactus for now. lol


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Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
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mcvansoest
Apr 30, 2018 10:06 AM CST
I am pretty sure the first one is O. polyacantha. There are a bunch of varieties, but that is harder to figure out.

2nd one is harder. I was going to say O. macrocentra, but it does not have black spines, which macrocentra does very conspicuously. Possibly O. flavispina, or a spiny version of O. chlorotica var. gosseliniana. That is assuming it is a Prickly Pear that occurs in the US. If it is from outside of the US the possibilities will increase.

It is what it is!

Whitney250
Apr 30, 2018 10:15 AM CST
mcvansoest said:I am pretty sure the first one is O. polyacantha. There are a bunch of varieties, but that is harder to figure out.

2nd one is harder. I was going to say O. macrocentra, but it does not have black spines, which macrocentra does very conspicuously. Possibly O. flavispina, or a spiny version of O. chlorotica var. gosseliniana. That is assuming it is a Prickly Pear that occurs in the US. If it is from outside of the US the possibilities will increase.




Thank you! I have been having a hard time because of the spine color, or the flower color. The first one is from Lowe's and the tag said O. Unknown and the second came from a nursery, but they didn't know what it was. I just want to be sure I'm taking care of them like they need to be taken care of.
Name: Thijs van Soest
Tempe, AZ (Zone 9b)
Region: Arizona Enjoys or suffers hot summers Cactus and Succulents Xeriscape Adeniums Hybridizer
Plant Identifier Plant and/or Seed Trader Cat Lover Dog Lover Lover of wildlife (Black bear badge) Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Image
mcvansoest
Apr 30, 2018 10:32 AM CST
Most prickly pears are very adaptable and tolerant of a lot of abuse/neglect. I do not know where you are located, but as long as these get plenty of light and in hot dry weather some extra water they will probably grow just fine. There biggest issue is sitting in cold wet soil for too long, but many prickly pears will take that for quite as well.

The purple color of the pads is an indication that the plant is a little stressed. Usually some form of low water high sun/heat or alternatively cold (like my Santa Rita goes purple in winter and while it does not really get cold here, it is a lot colder than normal). If it is water/sun stress some extra water may turn the pads looking more their original grey/green color.

Flowers on prickly pears can be very difficult, many species can have quite variable flowers so while flowers can help with the ID, it is not something that by itself provides certainty (well with some exceptions of course).


It is what it is!

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