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Thread: Opuntia streptacantha

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    cphog's Avatar
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    Has anyone heard of the species Opuntia streptacantha?
    Anyone know where one maybe obtained?

    Thank you.

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    I've recently taken an interest in Opuntia spp. - Interesting, useful plants with a unique history...
    I am curious to know what appeals to you about this species and what prompted you to search for it? (tasty tunas? good nopalitos?, spiky cladodes?, etc?)

    In the mean time, here is a source for plants as you requested (please note that I have not ordered from this source, but they look ok to me!):

    Phoenix Desert Nursery http://www.getnet.net/~richarde/cact...enixDesert.htm

    Opuntia Streptacantha http://www.getnet.net/~richarde/cact...%20Species.htm


    - Mike

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    cphog's Avatar
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    My interest in the Opuntias in general has been lifelong actaully. I had quite a collection of cacti when I was a child, including many Opuntia. During my late teens and early adult life I became a reckles idiot and those interests sort of fell by the way side. Now that I am much older, stable, have a house and family, I am returning oddly enough to this childhood interest. I want to start building a small collection again. (I also developed a passion for carnivorous plants as well.)

    My specific interest in Opuntia streptacantha is mostly medicinal. My youngest daughter has bad bouts of fever blisters during the winter when she has a cold or flu. I have been reading up on various herbal remedies and supplements to combat the virus supposedly involved. Opuntia streptacantha has shown some promise in this area. So I figured since I would like to have some large Opuntia species anyway, why not choose one that has food and medical value?

    Thank you for the links. I actually found that one after I posted here. I was hoping by some chance someone in the forum was growing this species and would send me a pad or two for postage (being the cheapskate I am). However, I may have to shell out the bucks because no one seems to have it in their collection.

    I also want to find an Opuntia ficus-indica. When I was a kid, that species was very popular around here where I live. Many people had them but recently I can't find them anywhere. Everyone has ripped them out and they are such a cool plant. With those huge pads they are visually quite striking but tastes change I guess. Too bad.

    So what's your Opuntia soga.

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    cphog,

    Thank you for sharing your Opuntia story.

    My saga? Well.....
    I live in Sacramento California, we seem to have a bit of history with various Opuntia. I live in a portion of town that has homes dating from the 1900's - it's not uncommon to see large tuna's or ficus-indica when driving about this part of town. I don't know if these plants originate from a more recent era or if they were planted when these older homes were established.

    Anyhow, I've really only recently began to notice all these various Opuntia when out & about. Perhaps since I've purchased some cacti and now have a 'cactus thumb' these things just started popping-out at me? As a result I did some searching on the internet and learned of Luther Burbank's efforts to cultivate spineless O's - an interesting story itself. Burbank's Santa Rosa nursery was only about 100 miles away from here... Burbank Cactus Catalog

    Now, I like to imagine that perhaps some of these plants represent some of Burbank's original stock (I have an active imagination). So now my quest has been to go about the neighborhood and ask neighbors if I can sample "that prickly pear in your yard". Folks seem to be surprisingly accommodating! There are even a few very old homesteads just outside of town which I've noticed have HUGE Opuntia's growing near the original adobe-type structures - I have yet to obtain samples from these as nobody ever seems to be home when I happen by.

    I do have a few Opuntia cladodes from around the 'hood' and if lucky, hope to have a few of the tastier samples growing in my yard before too long. Nothing scientific really, just another passing fancy probably.

    Lemme know if you might be interested in trading something for a cladode or two of 'Opuntia this & that'.

    Have fun,

    - Mike

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    cphog's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link.

    I live in east central Florida near the Atlantic coast. There used to be many homes around town that had large ficus-type Opuntias in their landscaping when I was a kid. But now that I want to start a patch of my own, I cannot find a one. It's like they have been aducted by aliens or something. Nobody likes them any more I guess. And I don't know why. They are visionally intriguing, adding a sense of architecture to the scene, and they are virtually care free, requiring little if any maintainance. Plus they are edible!

    I would love to trade with you, except I do not have much to trade. I have only recently begun to collect again. The only cacti I have at present is a small locally native specie of Opuntia called Opuntia humifusa (I might be able to find one in the brush around here I could send to you, if you really want one) and something I bought at Wal-mart the other day. I think it is a species of Opuntia. It has long, upright, cylindrical sections with little or no spines. But both are quite small, it may be a year or more before they grow enough to take a section. In the meantime maybe I could just send you the shipping and you could send me a couple of pads. Is cladodes the scientific name for Opuntia pads?

    Mark

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