Bushy or matted cactus with crowded much-branched cylindric stems. Stem segments to 15 cm (6 in) long and 2 cm (0.8 in) thick, with large tubercles to 1.5 cm (0.6 in) long. Spines straight, barbed, 6-10 per areole, to 5 cm (2 in) long, brownish. Glochids about 1 mm (0.04 in) long, yellowish. Flowers to 5 cm (2 in) long and 3 cm (1.2 in) wide, yellow, greenish, or tinged with red. Fruits yellow, about 3 cm long and almost as thick, tuberculate.
Distribution: Northeast New Mexico, Texas panhandle, southwestern Oklahoma.
Habitat: Sandy grasslands.
NWI status: none
Comment: Opuntia is a reference to some plant that grew in the Greek town of Opus; tunicata refers to some sort of enveloping membrane, probably the papery sheaths of the spines.
Distribution in Oklahoma:
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Last update: 9/14/99
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