Consolea corallicola Small
Florida Semaphore Cactus, Semaphore Pricklypear
Consolea corallicola is a rare tree-like cactus with stem segments up to 16 inches (40 cm) long and copiously armed with long salmon-colored spines. It grows up to 6.6 feet (2 m) tall. Spines of branches are smaller and more flexible than those on the trunk, mostly in marginal and submarginal areoles. They are up to 5 inches (12.5 cm) long. Flowers have fleshy outer tepals and bright red inner tepals that reach one inch (2.5 cm) in length. Flowering occurs year-round. Usually, there are no fruits as the plants in existence are solely, and pollination is impossible.
The common name "Florida Semaphore Cactus" refers to its resemblance to railway semaphore signals.
USDA hardiness zone 10a to 11b: from 30 °F (−1.1 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).
How to Grow and Care
Though the large variety of species within the Opuntia genus means different types of prickly pears may need slightly different care, all are desert cacti that need lots of sun, lots of light, and very little water. Therefore, if you live in a hot, arid area, particularly the American Southwest, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.
Though Opuntia will grow just fine in a garden, they can be grown in pots as well. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the prickly pear in a new pot and backfill it with potting soil. As with a new cutting, make sure not to water a newly repotting prickly pear for a brief period to avoid rotting its roots.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.
This species is endemic to Florida in the United States, limited to the Florida Keys.
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