Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This wide-ranging species is endemic to Mexico, where it occurs in Coahuila, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas (Hernández et al. 2004).
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Localities documented in Tropicos sources

Opuntia microdasys (Lehm.) Pfeiff.:
Madagascar (Africa & Madagascar)
Guatemala (Mesoamerica)

Note: This information is based on publications available through Tropicos and may not represent the entire distribution. Tropicos does not categorize distributions as native or non-native.
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introduced; Ariz.; Mexico (Coahuila, Durango, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Zacatecas).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs, erect to sprawling, to 1 m, with many small stem segments. Stem segments not disarticulating, bright green, flattened, circular to elliptic-obovate, (5-)7-10(-15) × (3-)4-8(-10) cm, low tuberculate, puberulent; areoles (9-)11-16 per diagonal row across midstem segment, subcircular, 2-5 mm diam.; wool white to tan, aging gray. Spines absent. Glochids numerous, nearly filling areole, usually yellow or whitish, sometimes reddish brown, to 3 mm. Flowers: inner tepals bright yellow throughout, aging peach, 25-30 mm; filaments and style white; anthers yellowish; stigma lobes dark green. Fruits red, spheric to ovoid, 20-25 × 12-16 mm, fleshy, pubescent, spineless; areoles 35-50. Seeds tan, nearly spheric (slightly flattened), 1-1.2 mm (perhaps infertile); girdle protruding to 0.5 mm. 2n = 22.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cactus microdasys Lehmann, Index Seminum (Hamburg), 1827: 16. 1827
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species grows in xerophyllous scrub and matorral.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Desert hills, uplands, sandy to loamy calcareous soils; 1700-2100m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring (Apr-May).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Opuntia microdasys

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Opuntia microdasys

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 2
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Bárcenas Luna, R., Goettsch, B.K., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Guadalupe Martínez, J. & Sánchez , E.

Reviewer/s
Goettsch, B.K. & Superina, M.

Contributor/s

Justification
Opuntia microdasys is listed as Least Concern due to its abundance and wide distribution.
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Population

Population
This species is widespread and common.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no threats to this species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Research is needed on the ecology and population status of this species. It occurs within several protected areas such as Mapimí Biosphere Reserve.
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Wikipedia

Opuntia microdasys

Opuntia microdasys (Bunny Ears Cactus, Bunny Cactus or Polka-dot Cactus) is a species of cactus native and endemic to central and northern Mexico.

Description[edit]

Opuntia microdasys forms a dense shrub 40–60 cm tall, occasionally more, composed of pad-like stems 6–15 cm long and 4–12 cm broad.

Opuntia microdasys has no spines, but instead has numerous white or yellow glochids 2–3 mm long in dense clusters; these glochids are barbed and thinner than the finest human hairs, detaching in large numbers apon the slightest touch. If not removed they will cause considerable skin irritation, so the plants must be treated with caution. Despite this, it is a very popular cactus in cultivation.

First Aid[edit]

Glochids should be removed as soon as possible, before the onset of contact dermatitis which may persist for months if left untreated.

To minimize the potential misery, keep your hands wet while dealing with any plant with glochids like this.

The water on your wet skin softens on contact the tips of the very fine glochids,dramatically reducing their ability to actually penetrate the skin and stick. See Removal of glochidia

Related species[edit]

The very closely related Opuntia rufida differs in having reddish-brown glochids. It occurs further north in northern Mexico, and into western Texas. Some botanists treat the two as a single species.

Species comparison gallery
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Notes

Comments

Opuntia microdasys is widely cultivated and sometimes naturalized in Arizona. In Mexico, O. microdasys hybridizes with O. rufida.
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