Maihueniopsis clavarioides (Pfeiff.) E.F. Anderson
Black Fingers, Dead Man's Fingers, Mushroom Opuntia
Austrocylindropuntia clavarioides, Clavarioidia clavarioides, Cylindropuntia clavarioides, Opuntia clavarioides, Puna clavarioides, Tephrocactus clavarioides
Maihueniopsis clavarioides is native to Argentina. It occurs in the provinces of Mendoza and San Juan.
Maihueniopsis clavarioides, also known as Puna clavarioides, is a much-branched cactus with grayish-green to dark brown, almost black segmented stems that arise from a tuberous root. The stem segments are cylindrical to obconical, up to 2 inches (5 cm) long, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) in diameter. The typical form has distinctive conical segments, but mutant forms with fan-shaped or finger-like stems are widely seen in cultivation. Sometimes, all 3 of these stem forms may be seen on a single plant. The minute wooly areoles are crowded on the upper parts of segments and bear 4 to 10 white, very short spines.
The flowers are funnel-shaped, yellow-green to olive green, up to 1.6 inches (4 cm) in diameter, and appear laterally in summer. Fruits are one-seeded, ellipsoid to pear-shaped, and up to 0.6 inches (1.5 cm) long.
USDA hardiness zones 9b to 11b: from 25 °F (−3.9 °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, light, and very little water. 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, ensure not to water a newly repotting Prickly Pear briefly 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 to heal the wounds. 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.
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