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Cylindropuntia leptocaulis (DC.) F.M.Knuth
Family Cactaceae
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis (DC.) F.M.Knuth APNI*

Synonyms: Opuntia leptocaulis DC. APNI*

Description: Shrubs or small trees, sparingly to densely branched, 0.5–1.8 m, usually bearing similar, commonly spineless terminal branchlets arranged at right angles along major axes.

Stem segments usually alternate, gray-green or purplish, 2–8 cm long, 0.3–0.5 cm wide; tubercles linear, drying as elongate, riblike wrinkles, 1.1–2(-3) cm long; areoles broadly elliptic, (1-)1.5–3.5 mm long, 0.7–2 mm wide; wool white to yellow, aging gray. Spines absent or 1(-3) per areole, usually in apical areoles to well distributed, erect, flexible, straight or arching upward or downward, red-brown with gray to whitish coat, tips yellow, aging red-brown, terete, angular-flattened basally, the longest (4-)14–45 mm long; sheaths gray to purple-gray with yellow to red-brown tips or yellow throughout. Glochids in adaxial tuft or crescent to encircling areole, yellow or reddish brown, 1–3(-5) mm long.

Flowers: inner tepals pale yellow to greenish yellow, sometimes tipped red, narrowly obovate, 5–8 mm long, acute, apiculate; filaments greenish yellow; anthers yellow; style yellow; stigma lobes greenish yellow.

Fruits occasionally proliferating, yellow to scarlet (rarely green, sometimes tinged purple, becoming yellow), sometimes stipitate, obovoid, 9–15(-27) × 6–7(-12) mm, fleshy, smooth, spineless; umbilicus 2–4 mm deep; areoles 16–20. Seeds pale yellow, suborbicular to squarish and crenate in outline, warped, 3–4.5 mm diam., sides smooth, each with 1–3 large depressions; girdle smooth or with very narrow ridge.

Photo J. R. Hosking


Flowering: Flowers spring–early summer.

Distribution and occurrence: Introduced to NW Plains and NW Slopes; native to southern America and Mexico.

Grows in Eucalyptus woodland with scattered shrubs in grey loamy sands.
NSW subdivisions: *NWS, *NWP

Declared Noxious Weed
AVH map***

Text by B.J. Conn (2004)
Taxon concept: Donald J. Pinkava (2004)

APNI* Provides a link to the Australian Plant Name Index (hosted by the Australian National Botanic Gardens) for comprehensive bibliographic data
***The AVH map option provides a detailed interactive Australia wide distribution map drawn from collections held by all major Australian herbaria participating in the Australian Virtual Herbarium project.
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