Maihueniopsis bonnieae (D.J. Ferguson & R. Kiesling) E.F. Anderson
Puna bonnieae, Opuntia bonnieae, Tephrocactus bonnieae
Maihueniopsis bonnieae, formerly known as Puna bonnieae, is a small geophytic cactus that looks like a small Tephrocactus geometricus, but the flowers, fruits, and seeds clearly show its autonomous nature. It slowly forms a small cushion up to 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter. During the dry season, the stems are hidden in the ground. They are small, usually spherical, up to 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter, dull blue-green but turn to dirty grey as they age. The stems are basally attached and did not detach easily from the mother plants. Spines are very short, pinkish, orangish, reddish to darker brown in the young stems, turning whitish-grey with age. Flowers are pale pink or pinkish and up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter.
USDA hardiness zones 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 Prickly Pears may need slightly different care. All are desert cacti that need lots of sun, light, and very little water. So if you live in a hot, arid area, these plants can generally be planted outside, left alone, and enjoyed.
These cacti will grow just fine in a garden, but they can also be grown in pots. To repot, ensure the soil is dry, remove the pot and knock away the old soil. After treating any cuts with fungicide, place the cactus 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.
Opuntia can propagate either by cuttings or by seed. To propagate by cuttings, sever pads from a plant and let them dry so that the wounds heal. Then place the plants in dry soil and refrain from watering them until they begin to grow to avoid rotting them.
See more at How to Grow and Care for Opuntia.
This species is native to Argentina.
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