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Opuntia robusta

Opuntia robusta, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Ordo: Caryophyllales

Familia: Cactaceae
Subfamilia: Opuntioideae
Tribus: Opuntieae
Genus: Opuntia
Species: Opuntia robusta

Opuntia robusta H.L.Wendl. ex Pfeiff., 1837.


Opuntia albicans Salm-Dyck, Hort. Dyck. 361. 1834.
Opuntia albicans var. laevior Salm-Dyck, Cact. Hort. Dyck. (1849). 67, 237. 1850, nom. inval.
Opuntia camuessa F.A.C.Weber ex Bois, Dict. Hort. 2: 895. 1898, nom. inval.
Opuntia flavicans Lem., Cact. Gen. Sp. Nov. 61. 1839.
Opuntia gorda Griffiths, Monatsschr. Kakteenk. 23: 134. 1913.
Opuntia robusta var. albicans Schelle, Handb. Kakteenkult. 57. 1907.
Opuntia guerrana Griffiths Rep. (Annual) Missouri Bot. Gard. 19: 266. 1908.
Opuntia larreyi F.A.C.Weber Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 3: 423. 1896.
Opuntia piccolominiana Parl. ex K. Schum. Gesamtb. Kakt. 741. 1898, nom. inval.
Opuntia prate Sabine ex Pfeiff., Enum. Diagn. Cact. 155. 1837.
Opuntia pruinosa Salm-Dyck, Cact. Hort. Dyck. ed. 2. 67. 1850.
Opuntia robusta var. guerrana (Griffiths) Sánchez-Mej., Cact. Suc. Mex. 17: 119. 1972.
Opuntia robusta var. larreyi (F.A.C.Weber) Bravo, Cact. Suc. Mex. 17: 119. 1972.
Opuntia robusta var. longiglochidiata Backeb., Descr. Cact. Nov. 10. 1956.
Opuntia robusta var. megacantha Schelle, Handb. Kakteenkult. 57. 1907.
Opuntia robusta var. megalarthra (Rose) K.Hammer, Kulturpflanze 24: 262. 1976.
Opuntia robusta var. viridior Salm-Dyck, Hnadb. Cact. (Förster) 487. 1846, nom. inval.
Opuntia megalarthra Rose, Smithsonian Misc. Collect. 50: 529. 1908.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico
Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southwest
Introduced into:
Algeria, Argentina Northeast, Canary Is., Cape Provinces, Corse, France, Free State, Greece, Italy, KwaZulu-Natal, Lesotho, New South Wales, Northern Provinces, Sicilia, South Australia, Tunisia, Victoria, Western Australia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Pfeiffer 1837. Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum hucusque Cognitarum 165. (H.L.Wendland, Cat. hort. Herrnh. 1835, num. inval.)

Additional references

Korotkova, N., Aquino, D., Arias, S., Eggli, U., Franck, A. , Gómez-Hinostrosa, C., Guerrero, P.C., Hernández, H.M., Kohlbecker, A., Köhler, M., Luther, K., Majure, L.C., Müller, A., Metzing, D., Nyffeler, R., Sánchez, D., Schlumpberger, B. & Berendsohn, W.G. 2021. Cactaceae at Caryophyllales. org–a dynamic online species-level taxonomic backbone for the family. Willdenowia 51(2): 251–270. DOI: 10.3372/wi.51.51208 Open access Reference page.
Anderson, E.F. 2001. The Cactus Family. (Timber Press) ISBN 0-88192-498-9.
Guzmán, U., Arias, S., and Dávila, P. (2003) Catálogo de Cactáceas Mexicanas. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Mexico.


Korotkova, N. et al. 2022. Opuntia robusta in Cactaceae at A global synthesis of species diversity in the angiosperm order Caryophyllales. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan 16. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Opuntia robusta in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan 16. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Opuntia robusta. Published online. Accessed: Jan 16 2022. 2022. Opuntia robusta. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2022 Jan 16.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Opuntia robusta in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 08-Apr-12.

Vernacular names
English: Wheel Cactus
español: nopal camueso, bartolona, nopal tapón, tuna tapón
svenska: Praktopuntia

Opuntia robusta, the wheel cactus, nopal tapon, or camuesa, is a species of cactus in the family Cactaceae.[2] It is native and endemic to central and northern Mexico to within 100 miles (160 km) of the Arizona and New Mexico borders where it grow from 5,000 to 10,000 feet (1,500 to 3,000 m) on rocky slopes, open shrub lands, woodlands and mixed with other cactus and succulents.


Plants are commonly around 1 m (40 in) high, though they may grow to over 3 m (10 ft) high when supported.[3]

The flattened stem segments are fleshy, round and blue-grey in colour.[3] These are up to 30 cm (1 ft) in diameter and have the length of sharp spines up to 5 cm (2 in).[3] Yellow, sessile flowers with a fleshy base are produced on the edges of the upper stem segments.[3] These are followed by barrel-shaped fleshy fruits which are pink or purple and up to 8 cm (3 in) long.[3]

Opuntia robusta has populations that are dioecious, hermaphrodite, or trioecious (containing male, female, and hermaphrodite individuals).[4]

The species was first formally described in 1837 in Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum hucusque Cognitarum.[2] It has naturalised in the states of South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria in Australia.[2][5]


Hernández, H.M., Cházaro, M. & Gómez-Hinostrosa, C. 2017. Opuntia robusta (amended version of 2013 assessment). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T152874A121614485. Downloaded on 16 September 2021.
"Opuntia robusta". Australian Plant Name Index (APNI), IBIS database. Centre for Plant Biodiversity Research, Australian Government.
Parsons, W.T. (1981). Noxious Weeds of Victoria. Australia: Inkata Press. ISBN 0909605009.
Del Castillo, R. F.; Argueta, S. T. (2009). "Reproductive implications of combined and separate sexes in a trioecious population of Opuntia robusta (Cactaceae)". American Journal of Botany. 96 (6): 1148–1158. doi:10.3732/ajb.0800301. PMID 21628265.
"PlantNET - FloraOnline".

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