Opuntia leoglossa Font & M.Köhler, 2021

Köhler, Matias & Font, Fabián, 2021, Opuntia leoglossa sp. nov. (Cactaceae): a new identity for the aloctone “ Lion’s Tongue ” cactus, Phytotaxa 510 (3), pp. 281-287 : 282-285

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https://doi.org/ 10.11646/phytotaxa.510.3.8



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Opuntia leoglossa Font & M.Köhler

sp. nov.

Opuntia leoglossa Font & M.Köhler View in CoL , sp. nov. ( Figs. 1–2 View FIGURE 1 View FIGURE 2 )

Type:— AUSTRALIA. Victoria, Riverina, Greta West, McLeans Road, 21 January 1994, Stajsic 1006 (holotype mounted in two separate labeled sheets— MEL2023597 View Materials ! and MEL2089030 View Materials !—and one spirit collection— MEL2089026 View Materials !; Isotypes at NSW395077 View Materials !, and CANB481700 View Materials !) .

Diagnosis: — Opuntia leoglossa morphologically resembles O. puberula Pfeiffer (1837: 156) from which differs by the elongated cladodes (vs. elliptic to short ovoid in O. puberula ). O. leoglossa is also similar to O. linguiformis , but can be distinguished by the light dull green epidermis (vs. blue-glaucous green in O. linguiformis ).

Description:— Shrub, decumbent to erect, 1–2 m tall; trunk frequently present, 15–18 cm in diam. Stem segments flattened (cladodes) 25–35 cm long × 3.5–6.0 cm wide × 5–10 mm thick, narrowly elongated, linear-elliptic to longoblong, not tuberculated; epidermis light to pale green, dull, not glaucous. Areoles 40–70 per cladode face, circular to subcircular, 0.3–4.5 cm in diam., sometimes protuberant in young cladodes, 1–2 cm distance between each other in diagonal; with whitish wool turning greyish at aging. Leaves conic, green to chartreuse yellow, rarely with vinaceous pigments, succulent, 2–4 mm, caducous, ascending. Glochids present, in a dense tuft brushlike, beige to dirty-yellow, 1–2 mm long, in cladodes, pericarpel, and fruit areoles. Spines 0–1(–3) per areole, acicular, 0.5–1.0 cm long, usually antrorse, rarely retrorse, whitish to pale yellow turning greyish at aging; only on occasional areoles. Pericarpel 1.5–3.0 cm long × 1.0– 1.2 cm wide, slightly elongated to short obconic, not tuberculated. Flower bud apex acute, chartreuse green to pale pink. Flowers numerous, 4–5 cm in diameter at anthesis; external tepals chartreuse green, sometimes pale pink-tinged, succulent, triangular to lanceolate; inner tepals bright yellow sometimes turning light orange after anthesis, largely obovate with obtuse and mucronate apex. Stamens numerous, cream to pale yellow filaments and anthers. Style white, 1.6–1.8 cm long, obconic with a narrowed base. Stigma 5–7 lobed, green. Fruit obovoid to obconic, chartreuse green when immature to purple-red when ripe, 2.5–3.5 cm long × 1.5–2.0 cm in diameter; shallow but wide umbilicate apex. Seeds not seen.

Etymology: —The epithet refers to the Latinization of the vernacular name “Lion’s Tongue”: leo, apocope of the word leonem (meaning lion, from Latin), and glossa (meaning tongue, from Greek).

Vernacular name: — “ Lion’s Tongue”, “Chicken Dance Cactus”, “lengua de leon”, “língua de leão”.

Chromosome number: —2n = 22 (diploid) (L.C.Majure 7086, FLAS, Majure et al. 2012b, sub O. schickendantzii ).

Distribution, habitat, and ecology: — Opuntia leoglossa has an unknown origin, but is recorded in Australia (Western Australia, South Australia, New South Wales, Australian Capital Territory, and Victoria-Stajsic & Carr 1996, sub O. schickendantzii ) and Spain (Valencia and Huelva-Gullón et al. 2014, Guillot-Ortíz & Sáez 2014, sub O. schickendantzii ). It usually grows along roadsides, degraded areas, railway embankments, and open disturbed woodlands. It is an exclusively ornamental plant, with no other economic uses reported. It has important limitations to be considered an invasive weed because the only means of dispersal seems to be through human action. The cladodes are not easily detachable, and the spines do not have the strength or the size to be attached to the fur of animals together with parts of the stem.

Specimen examined:— AUSTRALIA. WESTERN AUSTRALIA. 0.5 km N of Yellowdine, 31° 17’ 33.5” S, 164° 45’ 15” E, 03 October 2014, Chinnock 10452 (photo AD!, PERTH [n.v.]) GoogleMaps ; SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Yaninee, 32° 56’ 48” S, 135° 16’ 23” E, 07 August 2010, Chinnock 10264 (photo AD!) GoogleMaps ; Adelaide Hills, near Woodside, 34° 55’ 58” S, 138° 54’ 10” E, 16 December 2013, Brodie 5307 (photo AD!) GoogleMaps ; Campbelltown, 34° 52’ 23” S, 138° 39’ 13” E, 10 December 2013, Brodie 5262 (photo MEL!) GoogleMaps VICTORIA. Opposite 59 Porter Street, 37° 51’ 3” S, 144° 59’ 17” E, 11 February 2008, Chinnock 10128 (photo AD!) GoogleMaps ; Greta West, opposite the Greta West Post Office, 36° 31’ 59.2” S, 146° 13’ 36.1” E, 21 January 1994, Stajsic 1006 (photo CANB!, photo MEL!, photo NSW!) GoogleMaps ; South Morang, George Road, road cutting between Yan Yean Rd and Plenty Rd., 37° 39’ 00” S, 145° 07’ 00” E, 30 December 1993, Stajsic 1220 (photo MEL!, spirit [n.v.]) GoogleMaps . NEW SOUTH WALES. 0.4 km E of High Street, E edge of Ganmain, on the Junee Rd., 34° 47’ 41.2” S, 147° 03’ 17.6” E, 3 December 2009, Chinnock 10242 (photo AD!) GoogleMaps ; N outskirts of Griffith, N side of Combe Rd opposite intersection with Duchatel Rd, 34° 16’ 26” S, 146° 00’ 47.9” E, 1 October 2004, Mallinson 723 ( B [n.v], photo MEL!, photo CANB!, NSW [n.v], photo SI!, TARCH [n.v.]) View Materials GoogleMaps ; Ca. 3 km E of Yenda, N edge of Cemetery Rd., 34° 28’ 09.1” S, 146° 13’ 54” E, 27 November 2005, Mallinson 813 (photo CANB!, photo MEL!, NSW [n.v.]) View Materials GoogleMaps ; Yass district , 34° 49’ 48” S, 148° 55’ 12” E, July 2009, Minehan s.n. ( NSW 869496 View Materials ) GoogleMaps . AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY. Canberra, Suburb of Bruce ; c. 20 m W from first bus stop on W side of Haydon Drive, from junction with Barry Drive, 35° 15’ 15” S, 149° 05’ 13” E, 622 m, 1 November 2008, Purdie 6916 A (photo CANB!) View Materials GoogleMaps ; ibid. 25 December 2008, Purdie 6916 B (photo CANB!) View Materials GoogleMaps .


Nanjing University


State Herbarium of South Australia


Western Australian Herbarium


Museo Entomologico de Leon


Australian National Botanic Gardens


Royal Botanic Gardens, National Herbarium of New South Wales


Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh


Botanischer Garten und Botanisches Museum Berlin-Dahlem, Zentraleinrichtung der Freien Universitaet


Museo Botánico (SI)


Naturhistorisches Museum Wien


Harvard University - Arnold Arboretum

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