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Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

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Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby bett » Sun Apr 07, 2013 5:32 am

I found this large Opuntia growing on the edge of someone's yard in southern Virginia about 2 years ago. It was right next to the sidewalk and there was a broken pad on the ground, so I picked it up and took it home. I've been growing the plant in a pot since I got it, but I'm wondering if it's possibly a cold hardy species which I could plant outside here in zone 6. I can't be sure, but I believe the parent plant may have had yellow flowers. I imagine this must be a somewhat common species, but I'm just hoping for a proper ID.

The only photo I have of the parent is on the Google street view: http://goo.gl/maps/sxyPU

The pads are about 6 inches across. It's not very clear in the street view, but the new growth has long spines on it, while the old pads seem to have lost most of them (at least on my plant that's how it is). I can take a picture of my plant later, if it will help.

Thanks everyone!
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby majcka » Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:06 am

I would say Opuntia stricta on the first ball.

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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby Peterthecactusguy » Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:25 am

maybe Opuntia robusta? a close up pic would be nice. as for cold hardiness, O. robusta is 8A, I have no idea what zone you are in. There are some types of Opuntia that are more cold hardy than that tho. Can you take a picture of your pad?
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby bett » Tue Apr 09, 2013 11:16 pm

Thanks for the replies.
Looks like Virginia Beach is either 8a or 7b. I live on the border of 6a and 6b, so it would be quite a bit colder.
Here's some pictures of the plant I have.

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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby bett » Wed May 01, 2013 9:53 pm

Any more ideas?
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby Andy_CT » Thu May 02, 2013 12:04 pm

It will help if you can post pictures of the new growth when it gets going. Based on what I see it is unlikely that you will be able to grow that outdoors in Connecticut year round.
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby peterb » Thu May 02, 2013 3:51 pm

wow, that is a very cool Opuntia. I am inclined to put it with stricta, or some of the Florida Opuntia. Probably barely making it in Virginia Beach. I bet frosts come along every ten years or so that kill it down to the ground and it comes back. Just a guess.

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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby Peterthecactusguy » Thu May 02, 2013 8:48 pm

on the close ups that might be O. lindheimeri maybe. Or maybe O. stricta.. (although the ones I have look nothing like those)
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby bett » Fri May 03, 2013 12:26 am

The main plant down in Virginia was doing fine and dandy last summer when I saw it. Two years ago they had a cruddy winter down there while I was visiting. Snowed 8 inches one night and the roads were frozen solid for a few days due to a lack of plows, so the plant can apparently withstand at least mild freezing weather it seems.
I'll take pictures of the new growth when it starts making some this spring. If I root any more pads eventually, I may try planting one in a sheltered corner of my foundation where it stays warm throughout the winter. It was warm enough that grass grew all throughout the winter in that corner, so I was already weeding my garden there in early March. I stuck a pad of O. x ellisiana in the corner for now, so I'll see if that survives as an outdoor cactus for now.
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby paulzie32 » Fri May 03, 2013 1:07 pm

What ever it is, it's nice! Really Round pads!
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Re: Outdoor Opuntia in Virginia, species ID?

Postby Peterthecactusguy » Fri May 03, 2013 11:58 pm

yes, the pads are very round that is why I thought it was maybe O. lindheimeri. I will post a pic of mine later. (they have two spine colors or at least I have one that has brown and one yellow. the yellow spined one I have has a triangular pad on top, but the brown spined one has more rounded pads)
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