opuntia [ō pun′shē ə, ō pun′shə]
ModL < L (herba) Opuntia, (plant) of Opus, city in LOCRIS
any of a large genus (Opuntia) of cactus plants with red, purple, or yellow flowers, pulpy or dry berries, and fleshy, jointed stems, including the prickly pears and chollas

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o·pun·ti·a (ō-pŭnʹshē-ə, -shə) n.
Any of various cacti of the genus Opuntia, especially the prickly pear.
  [Latin (herba) Opūntia, Opuntian (herb), feminine of Opūntius of Opus, an ancient town of east-central Greece, from OpūsOpūnt-, Opus, from Greek OpousOpount-.]

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Any plant of the genus Opuntia, the largest genus of the cactus family.

Native to the New World, it has characteristic small bristles with backward-facing barbs. Subgroups are based on the form of the stem segments: chollas have cylindrical joints, while prickly pears have flat joints. Sizes range from tiny, cold-hardy forms to treelike varieties. In the Northern Hemisphere, opuntia is found farther north than any other cactus.

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 largest genus of the family Cactaceae, native to the New World, with some 200 species. It has characteristic glochidia—small bristles with backward-facing barbs in the areoles. (These barbs are difficult to remove from human skin.) The genus is divided into subgroups based on the form of the stem segments. Some Opuntia have cylindrical joints, called cholla; the remaining Opuntia are prickly pear, composed of flat joints, stem segments arising one from the end of another. Some botanists advocate dividing the two subgroups into separate genera.

      Opuntia occurs from the Peace River in western Canada almost to the tip of South America. In the Northern Hemisphere it is the most northern-ranging cactus. The most cold-hardy forms are small, some with joints only 2.5–5 cm (1–2 inches) long. In contrast, O. ficus-indica (or O. megacantha), the commonly cultivated prickly pear of Mexico, is treelike, reaching 5 metres (16 feet), with a woody trunk and joints 30–50 cm (12–20 inches) long or more.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Opuntia — Opuntia …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Opuntia — ● Opuntia ficus indica (especie tipo) ● Opuntia aciculata ● Opunntia basilaris ● Opuntia bergeriana ● Opuntia chlorotica ● Opuntia engelmannii ● Opuntia erinacea ● Opuntia fragilis ● Opuntia humifusa ● Opuntia leucotricha ● Opuntia lindheimeri ●… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • opunţia — OPÚNŢIA s.f. Gen de plante din familia cactaceelor, cărnoase, cu ramuri cilindrice sau turtite lateral, de formă ovală, cu spini aşezaţi în smocuri, cu flori mari, albe, roşii sau galbene. (Opuntia); plantă care face parte din acest gen. [pr.: ţi …   Dicționar Român

  • opuntia — [ō pun′shē ə, ō pun′shə] n. [ModL < L (herba) Opuntia, (plant) of Opus, city in LOCRIS] any of a large genus (Opuntia) of cactus plants with red, purple, or yellow flowers, pulpy or dry berries, and fleshy, jointed stems, including the prickly …   English World dictionary

  • Opuntĭa [1] — Opuntĭa (O. Mill. Haw.), Pflanzengattung aus den als Opuntiae in einer Unterabtheilung zusammengestellten, durch zusammengedrückte, proliferirende Glieder ausgezeichnete Arten der Gattung Cactus gebildet, aus der Familie der Cacteae; O. vulgaris… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Opuntia — Opuntĭa Mill., Fackel , Feigendistel, Feigenkaktus, Pflanzengattg. der Kakteen. O. Ficus indĭca Mill. (ind. Feige), aus Amerika, der wohlschmeckenden Früchte wegen auch in Südeuropa angebaut und oft verwildert. O. vulgāris Mill. (Cactus opuntia L …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Opuntia — O*pun ti*a, prop. n. [NL.] (Bot.) A genus of cactaceous plants; the prickly pear, or Indian fig. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Opuntĭa [2] — Opuntĭa, Theil des östlichen Lokris, s.d. A) b) …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Opuntĭa — Haw. (Fackeldistel, Feigendistel), Gattung der Kaktazeen, gegliederte Fettpflanzen mit blattartigen, meist dicken, zylindrischen oder keulenförmigen Gliedern, zuweilen mit kräftigem Stamm, filzigen Areolen in den Achseln abfallender oder… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Opuntia — Opuntia, Feigendistel, s. Cacteae …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

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