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Opuntia ramosissima - Engelm.
                 
Common Name Branched Pencil Cholla
Family Cactaceae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards The plant has numerous minutely barbed glochids (hairs) that are easily dislodged when the plant is touched and they then become stuck to the skin where they are difficult to see and remove. They can cause considerable discomfort[200].
Habitats Dry situations in creosote bush scrub and joshua tree woodland[276].
Range South-western N. America - California to Arizona.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Frost Hardy Well drained soil Full sun

Summary

Opuntia ramosissima Branched Pencil Cholla


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
Opuntia ramosissima Branched Pencil Cholla
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Stan_Shebs
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Opuntia ramosissima is an evergreen Perennial growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 8 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry soil and can tolerate drought.

Synonyms

Habitats
 Cultivated Beds; East Wall. By. South Wall. By.
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit;  Seed;  Stem.
Edible Uses: Gum.

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use[257]. Sweet and gelatinous[85]. Lean and insipid[95]. The unripe fruits can be added to soups etc, imparting an okra-like mucilaginous quality[183]. The fruit can hang on the plant all year round[160]. Be careful of the plants irritant hairs, see the notes above on toxicity. Pads - raw, cooked or dried for later use[62, 160]. Watery and very mucilaginous[85]. Seed - briefly roasted then ground into a powder[62]. It is also used as a thickener[62].
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



None known
Other Uses
Gum.

The following notes are for O. ficus indica. They almost certainly also apply to this species[K]. A gum is obtained from the stem. It is used as a masticatory or mixed with oil to make candles[64]. The juice of the boiled stem segments is very sticky. It is added to plaster, whitewash etc to make it adhere better to walls[92].
Cultivation details
Requires a sandy or very well-drained soil[160]. Prefers a pH in the range 6 to 7.5[200]. Plants must be kept fairly dry in winter but they like a reasonable supply of water in the growing season[200]. A position at the base of a south-facing wall or somewhere that can be protected from winter rain is best for this plant. Requires warmth and plenty of sun. Plants tolerate considerable neglect. This species is fairly cold tolerant and can succeed outdoors in a selected site in the milder areas of the country[200].
Propagation
Seed - sow early spring in a very well-drained compost in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first two winters. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Give the plants some protection from winter wet. Make sure you have some reserve plants in case those outdoors do not overwinter. Cuttings of leaf pads at any time in the growing season. Remove a pad from the plant and then leave it in a dry sunny place for a couple of days to ensure that the base is thoroughly dry and has begun to callous. Pot up into a sandy compost. Very easy, rooting quickly.

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Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Opuntia compressaEastern Prickly Pear, Prickly Pear Cactus31
Opuntia erinaceaMojave Prickly Pear20
Opuntia ficus-indicaPrickly Pear, Barbary fig32
Opuntia fragilisPrickly Pear, Brittle pricklypear21
Opuntia howeyi 20
Opuntia imbricataTree Chola20
Opuntia littoralisWestern Prickly Pear20
Opuntia macrorhizaTwist-Spine Prickly Pear20
Opuntia microdasysBunny Ears, Angel's-wings20
Opuntia phaeacanthaBastard Fig, Tulip pricklypear21
Opuntia polyacanthaPlains Prickly Pear, El Paso pricklypear, Grizzlybear pricklypear, Navajo Bridge pricklypear, Hairsp31
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Expert comment
 
Author
Engelm.
Botanical References
200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
Elizabeth H.
Allen Keeney Fri Mar 16 2007
I have found a spineless variety. Is it unusual?
Elizabeth H.
Ken Fern, Plants for a Future Mon Mar 26 2007
I'm not sure how unusual this is, but I've looked it up in the on-line 'Flora of North America' (where they call it Cylindropuntia ramosissima). There is no mention there of a spineless variety, so it is likely to be very rare in the wild. However, there has been some selective breeding carried out in the past (particularly by Luther Burbank in California), in an attempt to breed spineless varieties of several Opuntia species. Since this plant is native to California, then I suppose this could just vaguely be connected with that.
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Subject : Opuntia ramosissima  

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