Opuntia microdasys, Photo: Michael Lahanas
Opuntia microdasys (*)
Opuntia microdasys (Lehm.) Pfeiff.
* Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum hucusque Cognitarum 154. 1837
Opuntia microdasys (Bunny Ears Cactus, Bunny Cactus or Polka-dot Cactus) is a species of cactus native and endemic to central and northern Mexico.
Opuntia microdasys forms a dense shrub 40–60 cm tall, occasionally more, composed of pad-like stems 6–15 cm long and 4–12 cm broad.
Opuntia microdasys has no spines, but instead has numerous white or yellow glochids 2–3 mm long in dense clusters; these detach very easily on being touched, and can cause considerable skin irritation, so the plants must be treated with caution. Despite this, it is a very popular cactus in cultivation.
The very closely related Opuntia rufida differs in having reddish-brown glochids; it occurs further north in northern Mexico, and into western Texas. Some botanists treat the two as a single species.
Source: Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License