Opuntia fragilis - (Nutt.) Haw.
Brittle Prickly-pear
Other English Common Names: Brittle Prickly-pear Cactus, Pygmy Prickly-pear
Other Common Names: brittle pricklypear
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Opuntia fragilis (Nutt.) Haw. (TSN 19707)
French Common Names: oponce fragile
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.159232
Element Code: PDCAC0D0H0
Informal Taxonomy: Plants, Vascular - Flowering Plants - Cactus Family
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Plantae Anthophyta Dicotyledoneae Caryophyllales Cactaceae Opuntia
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.
Concept Reference Code: B94KAR01HQUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Opuntia fragilis
Taxonomic Comments: FNA (vol. 4, 2003) does not recognize distinct varieties in Opuntia fragilis.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 11May2016
Global Status Last Changed: 11May2016
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Reasons: Widespread throughout the mid-west and western United States.
Nation: United States
National Status: N4N5
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (11May2016)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Arizona (SNR), California (S1), Colorado (SNR), Idaho (SNR), Illinois (S1), Iowa (S1), Kansas (SNR), Michigan (S1), Minnesota (SNR), Montana (S4), Nebraska (SNR), Nevada (SNR), New Mexico (SNR), North Dakota (SNR), Oklahoma (SNR), Oregon (SNR), South Dakota (SNR), Texas (SNR), Utah (S4S5), Washington (S4), Wisconsin (S3), Wyoming (S2S3)
Canada Alberta (S4), British Columbia (S5), Manitoba (S4), Ontario (S3), Saskatchewan (S5)

Other Statuses

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: British Columbia, to W. Manitoba; near Kaladar, Ontario; Washington, Michigan, Illinois, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Dakotas.

Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300
Number of Occurrences Comments: Over 100 EO's (Benson 1982).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Most cacti subject to horticultural collecting.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: British Columbia, to W. Manitoba; near Kaladar, Ontario; Washington, Michigan, Illinois, California, Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Oregon, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Wyoming, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Dakotas.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, IL, KS, MI, MN, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY
Canada AB, BC, MB, ON, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Siskiyou (06093)*
IA Black Hawk (19013), Buchanan (19019), Butler (19023), Hardin (19083), Lyon (19119)
IL Jo Daviess (17085)
MI Marquette (26103), Ogemaw (26129)*
WI Adams (55001), Buffalo (55011), Burnett (55013), Columbia (55021), Dunn (55033), Green Lake (55047)*, Jackson (55053)*, La Crosse (55063), Marquette (55077), Monroe (55081), Pepin (55091), Polk (55095), Sauk (55111), Trempealeau (55121), Waupaca (55135), Waushara (55137)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
04 Dead-Kelsey (04020105)+, Upper Fox (04030201)+, Wolf (04030202)+, Au Sable (04070007)+*, Au Gres-Rifle (04080101)+*
07 Lower St. Croix (07030005)+, Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003)+, Trempealeau (07040005)+, La Crosse-Pine (07040006)+, Black (07040007)+, Lower Chippewa (07050005)+, Red Cedar (07050007)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Castle Rock (07070003)+, Baraboo (07070004)+, Lower Wisconsin (07070005)+, West Fork Cedar (07080204)+, Middle Cedar (07080205)+, Upper Iowa (07080207)+
10 Lower Big Sioux (10170203)+
18 Shasta (18010207)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Basic Description: Low, mat forming plants; miniature version of prickly pear.
Reproduction Comments: This Opuntia mainly reproduces asexually by detachment of its stems or cladode. In O.fragilis terminal stem segments break off easily from the parent plant and and take-root producing clonal individuals (Rebman and Pinkava 2001). This species is also believed to be dispersed by bison (Valiente-Banuet and Godinez-Alvarez 2002).
Ecology Comments: It is extremely cold tolerant, growing in Canada almost to the arctic circle (Weniger 1970). Species is fire adapted sprouting from root crown and layering from pads bureied in substrate protected from fire (Taylor, 2005).
Habitat Comments: Sandy, gravelly, or rocky soils of valleys, low hills, or mountainsides mostly in the desert, plains.
Economic Attributes
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Economically Important Genus: Y
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 02Feb1988
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: LAMBERT, A.

Botanical data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs), The North Carolina Botanical Garden, and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Argus, G.W., K.M. Pryer, D.J. White and C.J. Keddy (eds.). 1982-1987. Atlas of the Rare Vascular Plants of Ontario.. Botany Division, National Museum of National Sciences, Ottawa.

  • Beschel, R.E. 1967. The cactus at Kaladar. Blue Bill (Quarterly Bulletin of the Kingston Field Naturalists) 14(2):11-12.

  • Consaul, L., S. Darbyshire, and A. Dugal. 1998. The status of the Fragile Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia fragilis) in Nepean, Ontario. Trail & Landscape 32(3): 175-181.

  • Flora of North America Editorial Committee. 2003b. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Vol. 4, Magnoliophyta: Caryophyllidae, part 1. Oxford University Press, New York. 559 pp.

  • Frego, K.A., and R.J. Staniforth. 1986. The Brittle Prickly-pear Cactus, Opuntia fragilis, in the boreal forest of southern Manitoba. Canadian Field-Naturalist 100(2): 229-236.

  • Hancock, K., S. Darbyshire, R. Huntley. 2005. Canada's Kaladar cactus. British Cactus and Succulent Journal 23(2): 50-55.

  • Kartesz, J.T. 1994. A synonymized checklist of the vascular flora of the United States, Canada, and Greenland. 2nd edition. 2 vols. Timber Press, Portland, OR.

  • Rebman, J.P. and D. Pinkava. 2001. Opuntia cacti of North America: an overview. Florida Entomologist 84(4): 474-483.

  • Ribbens, E. 2007. Opuntia fragilis: taxonomy, distribution, and ecology. Haseltonia 14: 94-110.

  • Staniforth, R.J. and K.A. Frego. 2000. Ecological history and population dynamics of a disjunct population of brittle prickly-pear cactus, Opunitia fragilis (Cactaceae), in eastern Ontario. Canadian Field Naturalist 114:98-105.

  • Taylor, J. E. 2005. Opuntia fragilis. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/ [2011, April 25].

  • Valiente-Banuet, A., and H. Godinez-Alvarez. 2002. Population and Community Ecology. Pages 91-108. in: P. Nobel, editor. Cacti: Biology and Uses. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.

  • Weniger, D. 1970. Cacti of the Southwest: Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana. University of Texas Press: Austin, Texas. 249 pp. + 64 pls.

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