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Overview

Distribution

Range Description

According to Hunt et al. 2006 the species is only native to Mexico but now is widely distributed in warm countries. However, the precise native range is not known.
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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Exotic

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Mexico; cultivated in the West Indies and tropical America and occasionally escaped from cultivation, as on Kahoolawe, Hawaii, and in Florida.

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introduced; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies (Cuba, Puerto Rico); Central America (Panama).
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs or small trees, 2-4 m tall. Trunk (when present) terete. Large joints green, elliptic to narrowly obovate, 8-40(-50) × 5-7.5(-15) cm, thick, margin entire, base and apex rounded. Areoles ca. 2 mm in diam. Spines usually absent, when present: 1-3 per areole, spreading, grayish tan, acicular, 3-9 mm; glochids early deciduous. Leaves conic, 3-4 mm, early deciduous. Flowers 1.2-1.5 cm in diam., erect. Sepaloids with brilliant red or green midrib, largest ones ovate-deltoid, 5-12 × 6-9 mm, margin entire, apex acute. Petaloids bright red, ovate to obovate, 1.3-1.5 × 0.6-1 cm, margin entire or undulate, apex rounded or acute. Filaments pink, 3-4 cm; anthers pink, ca. 1.5 mm. Style pink, 4-4.5 cm; stigmas 6-8, greenish, ca. 3 mm. Fruit red, ellipsoid, 3-5 × 2.5-3 cm, umbilicus developed but not conspicuous. Seeds gray or tannish, thickened discoid, ca. 3 mm in diam. Fl. Jul-Feb.
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Description

Shrubs or trees to 4-5 m; trunks 15-20 cm diam. Stem segments linear to narrowly obovate, some-times slightly falcate, (10-)15-35(-50) × 5-15 cm; areoles 2-3+ cm apart, 2-5 mm diam.; wool tawny, whitening with age. Spines usually absent or 1(-3), particularly on older pads, straight or curved, brown, aging gray, stout, to 2 cm. Glochids inconspicuous. Flowers 4-7 cm; inner tepals spatulate; crowded pink filaments and white style much longer than tepals, to 15 mm; nectar chamber elliptic to obconic. Fruits ellipsoid, 25-40 × 20-25 mm; areoles well distributed. Seeds tan to gray, 3-5 × 1.5-3 mm, slightly pubescent. 2n = 22 (Mexico, Puerto Rico as an escape).
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Cactus cochenillifer Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 468. 1753; Nopalea cochenillifera (Linnaeus) Salm-Dyck.
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Synonym

Cactus cochenilliferus Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 468. 1753 (as cochenillifer); Opuntia cochenillifera (Linnaeus) Miller
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species occurs in tropical dry forest (Schultz 2004).

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Sandy soils of dunes and fields at low elevation. In openings in Caribbean Tropical Forest.

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Hammocks, fields, sandy soils; 0m.
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Habitat & Distribution

Slopes; low altitudes. S Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan [native to Mexico; widely introduced and escaped in tropical regions].
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering winter (Sep-Mar).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Nopalea cochenillifera

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


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Nopalea cochenillifera

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

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
DD
Data Deficient

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Arreola, H., Ishiki, M. & Terrazas, T.

Reviewer/s
Goettsch, B.K.

Contributor/s

Justification
The original range and hence the wild population of this species is unknown. Therefore, its wild status cannot be assessed and it is listed here as Data Deficient, although it is an extremely widespread (as a result of introductions) and abundant (because of cultivation programmes) speciesaGVfYZ
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNA - Not Applicable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

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Population

Population
Given that is not possible to establish which are wild populations it is impossible to know the population size or trend.

Population Trend
Unknown
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Threats

Major Threats
Given that it is impossible to determine which are wild populations it is not possible to determine the threats.
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Comments: Most cacti subject to horticultural collecting.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species occurs within El Edén Reserve in Quintana Roo, Mexico (Schultz 2004) and in the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán Biosphere Reserve, Puebla, but it is not known if these are in the original range of the species or not.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Stem: The "pads" are applied to treat mycoses (fungal skin infections), fever, and as a shampoo for fine, delicate hair; pads are warmed and placed on the forehead as a refresher by the French Guiana Palikur. Roasted branches are sliced and applied as a poultice to relieve pain, swelling, and localized burning sensation resulting from filaria. Sap used for baby's colds and wheezing. Grated stem mixed with corn meal and soft grease is warmed for external application to relieve heavy chest colds and fever associated with pneumonia. Leaf: Used for spleen problems in NW Guyana.

  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Notes

Common Names

FG Creole: raquette. Guyana: cochineal. Surinam: nopal. Surinam Sranan: nopari.

  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Comments

This species was first introduced to China in 1901. Some authorities now recognize this species in the genus Nopalea, as distinct from Opuntia, based on pollen-morphological differences.
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Comments

The stem segments, or pads, of Nopalea cochenillifera are used as food, fodder, and poultices, and for rearing cochineal insects to obtain a red dye (once a major industry). This species may have been selected for spinelessness in Mexico, much like Opuntia ficus-indica, to ease the culturing and collection of cochineal scale insects for red dye.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Synonyms

Nopalea cochenillifera (L.) Salm-Dyck

  • Grenand, P., Moretti, C. and H. Jacquemin. 1987. Pharmacopées Traditionnelles en Guyane: Créoles, Palikur, Wayapi. 569 pp. Paris: Editions de l'ORSTOM.
  • Lachman-White, D.A., Adams, C.D. and U.O. Trotz. 1987. A Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Coastal Guyana. 350 pp. London: Commonwealth Science Council.
  • May, A.F. 1982. Surinaams Kruidenboek (Sranan Oso Dresi). 80 pp. Paramaribo, Surinam: Vaco; and Zutphen, The Netherlands: De Walburg Pers.
  • van Andel, T. R. 2000. Non-timber Forest Products of the North-West District of Guyana. Part I: 326 pp., Part II: A Field Guide, 358 pp. Tropenbos-Guyana Series 8B. Georgetown, Guyana: Tropenbos-Guyana Programme.

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Comments:

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