Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

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Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#1  Postby Spination » Sun Jul 10, 2016 10:52 am

So exciting! This is currently my smallest (seen in 3" pot), but most favorite Opuntia species within my small collection of those. Got it last winter, and I was beginning to wonder if it was ever going to do something. Just over a week ago, I finally moved it to where it's getting it's first direct sun, at least in the morning hours. Guess that was the trick, because it's suddenly showing signs of life! It's not like it looked dead, it just was doing absolutely nothing that could be seen by eye before.

2 new pads on the way
2016 07 10 Opuntia g    a.JPG
2016 07 10 Opuntia g a.JPG (166.67 KiB) Viewed 982 times


Would be nice if they were growing on opposite sides; they're rather too close together. When big enough (next year?), the lower and larger one will be cut off to create another plant.
2016 07 10 Opuntia g    a a.JPG
2016 07 10 Opuntia g a a.JPG (67.33 KiB) Viewed 982 times


Anyone want to guess what it is? :)) A hint - does not grow naturally in the U.S., but I expect can be found in a Botanical Garden or private collections.
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#2  Postby Dbplants » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:03 pm

Opuntia echios?
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#3  Postby Spination » Sun Jul 10, 2016 7:46 pm

That's tremendous insight, because you nailed the location perfectly: Galapagos.

Actually, it's O. galapageia var Profusa, but I would not have had the wherewithal to figure that out myself - not being very knowledgeable with Opuntia. I only know because the seller/collector/grower sold it to me as that. I almost got a pad of O. echios from the same source, but it was just a bit pricey for me at the time. Well, I started with this one, maybe the other next time. ::wink::
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#4  Postby Dbplants » Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:13 pm

Lucky guess, really. But I really do like the look of the Opuntias from the Galapagos. If only I had more greenhouse space, or a more hospitable climate :)) . I'm surprised that it's being such a slow grower, I would've thought that it being such a large cactus it would grow like a ficus-indica.
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#5  Postby Stan » Tue Jul 12, 2016 2:33 pm

Where are you going to get the 500 pound Tortoise to pollinate it? :lol:
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#6  Postby Spination » Thu Sep 01, 2016 5:56 pm

With days getting shorter and winter getting nearer, I figured I should do something with this while there was still some growing season at hand, otherwise by waiting too long I would be wise to just wait until spring.
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa a X750.jpg
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa a X750.jpg (232.21 KiB) Viewed 890 times


Had the 2 new pads been on opposite sides, I would have left it alone. I figure removing the larger one to make a new plant allows the smaller one to take over the full growth benefits provided by the original pad.
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa c X750.jpg
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa c X750.jpg (211.92 KiB) Viewed 890 times


This shouldn't skip a beat while recovering... and now there won't be 2 pads crammed up against each other.
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa f X750.jpg
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa f X750.jpg (248.22 KiB) Viewed 890 times


And this is set in bone dry sterilized cactus mix with the pebbles added solely to support the pad in an upright position. I'll probably give it it's first water in about a week. There will be no issue not doing the air-drying thing as is customary. I've done this plenty and never had one not root (not this exact species though, although that shouldn't make any difference).
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa g x750.jpg
2016 09 01 Opuntia galagageia v Profusa g x750.jpg (190.9 KiB) Viewed 890 times
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#7  Postby Spination » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:00 pm

So, originally back in Sept 2015, I started with this
2015 09 17 O galapageia var Profusa c.JPG
2015 09 17 O galapageia var Profusa c.JPG (144.61 KiB) Viewed 780 times


And today
2017 04 09 Opuntia galapageia v Profusa a X800.jpg
2017 04 09 Opuntia galapageia v Profusa a X800.jpg (224.77 KiB) Viewed 780 times


So it's almost as if this came from nowhere, with a new pad of it's own coming along
2017 04 09 Opuntia galapageia v Profusa b X800.jpg
2017 04 09 Opuntia galapageia v Profusa b X800.jpg (210.08 KiB) Viewed 780 times


And there's still the original pad, plus a replacement for the one I cut off
2017 04 09 Opuntia galapageia v Profusa c X800.jpg
2017 04 09 Opuntia galapageia v Profusa c X800.jpg (235.23 KiB) Viewed 780 times


Interestingly, it appears that the new pad came right out of the spot where I took the cutting in Sept of last year. And what I thought was a second pad actually has a round shape. Maybe it's a future flower? Or an an aborted attempt to make a flower?

I like this kind of math. One made 2, and now 2 can potentially make four... I like where this is headed. D))
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#8  Postby Viegener » Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:02 pm

Very interesting. I got Opuntia echios var gigantea last year & it's going gangbusters. I got this one because it grows into a tree-like form with a nice rusty trunk. I wonder though if it will survive our winters here; I think the Galapagos rarely get under 50º
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#9  Postby Viegener » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:22 pm

Opuntia echios var gigantea
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IMG_7480 Opuntia echios var gigantea.JPG
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#10  Postby Spination » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:30 pm

Awesome. That looks great!

Maybe because Easter is around the corner, but that kind of looks like a bunny, with those rabbit ears. ::wink::
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#11  Postby Viegener » Sun Apr 09, 2017 6:34 pm

Yes, it does. But those bunny ears a mighty trunk will be!
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#12  Postby toditd » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:27 pm

Spination wrote:I like this kind of math. One made 2, and now 2 can potentially make four... I like where this is headed.

You should fear math like that! Just look at what "opuntia math" has done in Australia. :eek:
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#13  Postby Spination » Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:11 pm

Except that in this case, instead of more common and invasive Opuntia unwanted in Australia, a rather rare Opuntia species that hails from a single archipelago on the entire planet, and sells for serious $ on Ebay.
One pad becoming 4 in circa a year and change, that's math I find very intriguing.
Where it starts sounding really good to me is when 4 become 8, 8 become 16... but of course past results are no guarantee of future performance, as they say.

I cut off the new pad on the original one this afternoon. If nothing else, since it's the second pad that grew out of the exact same spot twice now, I'd like to see if that happens again. I dusted the cut area with rooting hormone as I did before, whether or not that actually made any difference. Anyway, now there's 3 separate plants, and the pad removed last September I'm leaving intact for now, now that it's clearly rooted already and has it's own new pad growing out of it. D))
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#14  Postby Viegener » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:28 pm

I will be doing the same. The less-straight "ear" will come off & get rooted. I want a straight trunk on this, plus a spare plant if something goes wrong. Maybe one day I'll sell extras on eBay to recoup some of my expenses, though that's not a major motive. I want more of these plants out in the world!
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#15  Postby Spination » Mon Apr 10, 2017 7:17 am

Absolutely!
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#16  Postby Viegener » Mon Apr 10, 2017 11:48 pm

So here's a ridiculous $900 offer on eBay for a Opuntia galapageia
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#17  Postby Spination » Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:45 am

Yeah, I had seen that. ::wink::

Interesting that the seller doesn't even mention the subspecies/variety. There are 6 species on islands, diversified into 14 varieties, with O. galapageia consisting of 3 varieties. Does the seller not even know, or perhaps thinks it doesn't matter? It would matter to me.
"Endemic to the Galapagos, the three subspecies all occur on different islands. Opuntia galapageia galapageia is found on Bartolomé, Santiago and Pinta Islands , O. g. macrocarpa is found on Pinzón Island, and O. g. profusa is found on Rábida Island."

Also, for that kind of coin, I'd be leery of a seller with zero feedbacks as a seller, and all of the 16 feedbacks as a buyer only. But that's just me...I'm a bit suspicious and careful myself. It's a buyer beware world out there.

I know my plant, and one small pad of it that will easily fit into part of the palm of a hand I've seen sell for $50. I'm sure other species varieties could sell for more, maybe much more. Based on that, one might consider the $900 on the high side, however I would expect that the whole should be greater than the sum of it's parts, and it must have taken some years to grow that to a 6' tall specimen. On that note too, that's a really small pot for a plant like that, so just how proportionately healthy is it's root system?

And just how would one ship something like that, and not expect it to to break during shipment?

In summation, I completely agree with your descriptive of "ridiculous". :))
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#18  Postby Viegener » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:53 pm

I'm totally wary of eBay plant listings. So many of them have names that you only ever find on eBay, "Blue Shark," for example, etc. If the plant doesn't seem to exist outside the imagination of the seller, then it probably isn't what they think it is...
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#19  Postby Viegener » Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:56 pm

Also, do you have a sense of which of the several Galapageian opuntias is the really tall, tree-like one? I thought it was O. echios var gigantea, but really that's just based on scanty internet entries...
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#20  Postby Spination » Tue Apr 11, 2017 2:12 pm

I think you are right, and I had read previously that the tallest ones are on the tortoise inhabited islands. It's proposed that the reason they evolved to grow taller is to evade the reach of those tortoises that dine of them. ::wink::

Here's some interesting stuff written about it.

http://www.darwinfoundation.org/datazon ... untias.pdf
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#21  Postby Spination » Mon Apr 24, 2017 12:40 pm

Comparing to the photos in Post #7, which was 2 weeks ago, there's been rather fast progress.

Original pad, now with 2nd pad cut off (2 weeks ago) which came out right where the first was cut off. Interestingly, there is visible now 2 red tiny growths, which I predict are already the genesis of 2 new pads. How strange that precisely where I keep cutting off the new pads, the plant continues to want to make new ones right there.
2017 04 24 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa  a.jpg
2017 04 24 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa a.jpg (147.77 KiB) Viewed 696 times


The first cutting from last year, with it's new pad moving right along. The new pad keeps wanting to lean towards the sun, so I keep turning the pot the other way, trying to keep the new pad growing more or less straight up, and that seems to be working.
2017 04 24 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa cutting #1.jpg
2017 04 24 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa cutting #1.jpg (155.44 KiB) Viewed 696 times


The newest cutting made 2 weeks ago from the original pad, and I can see an interesting development top right, a dense clustering of golden spines, which I believe is going to be the future location of a new pad growing out of it.
2017 04 24 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa cutting #2.jpg
2017 04 24 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa cutting #2.jpg (104.8 KiB) Viewed 696 times
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#22  Postby Azuleja » Mon Apr 24, 2017 2:28 pm

Really cool, they seem to be flourishing under your care.
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#23  Postby Spination » Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:33 am

Thanks. It just seems to be one of those things, where it happens they seem to really like the situation where they are.

I wanted to post a couple more pics, although it's only been 6 (!) days since those last photos...
No doubt about it... those tiny red growths previously pictured are 2 new pads under construction. Amazing to me how prolific this original pad has been since it arrived, while it's trying to deal with the cuttings I take from it. I wonder if the rooting hormone powder I apply after each cut has any effect, or whether this is just normal after a cutting is taken? I have taken cuttings before from other species, but never noticed this type of consistent response - but I never applied rooting hormone powder on any of those either...
2017 04 30 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa a.jpg
2017 04 30 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa a.jpg (152.46 KiB) Viewed 673 times


And on a more humorous note (to me anyway ::wink:: ) is the 1st cutting and it's leaf/pad leaning back and forth as I turn keep turning it away from the direction of predominant sunshine.
Here's as it was this AM, after I had just turned it around 6 days ago
2017 04 30 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa b.jpg
2017 04 30 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa b.jpg (184.29 KiB) Viewed 673 times

And now from the new angle as I turned the pot 180 degrees, better depicting the degree of lean. I guess in another week, it will be leaning back in the other direction! On the one hand, it's giving me something extra to do each week, and on the other hand, I'm probably really annoying it. If it could talk, it would probably say "Darn it man! I'm growing here...leave me be!". :lol: I can't help it. If this is going to be some sort of eventual opuntia tree, I don't want it leaning off to one side... I'd like the eventual trunk to be more or less straight up. :))
2017 04 30 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa c.jpg
2017 04 30 Opuntia galapageia var Profusa c.jpg (171.67 KiB) Viewed 673 times
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#24  Postby Agave Down Under » Mon May 01, 2017 2:24 am

Nice work!!
I have these guys look similar to what you have?
These are the last pads i removed from mother plant, got a little fed up of getting a pinch every time i'd walk past :o
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Re: Opuntia showing signs of life, at last

Post Number:#25  Postby Agavemonger » Mon May 01, 2017 6:34 am

Man, I'm gonna buy stock in the companies that produce and sell Bar-B-Que tongs, what with all the spiny stuff you guys are propagating! D))

I really like the authentic "desert" look of Opuntias, but I sure hate having to deal with their spiny dispositions, and especially their glochids. I have sold lots of them off the truck over the years; I have lots of war stories I could share of dealing with somewhat over-grown Opuntia microdasys varieties and their relatives :frown: ...and a few "misadventure" type hiking experiences from "Jumping Cactus" terrain in the Mojave...::x

I have to admit, I couldn't resist planting a couple of species (Opuntia rufida and Opuntia sulphurea) in my new xeric garden, even though space is already maxed out and thus at a premium. They are already showing new growth, and it has only been a few weeks since I planted them out! :red:

I will just have to keep them pruned back and compact, I guess, so they don't take away too much pizazz from the Aloes and Agaves I planted a little-to-near to them! ::wink::

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