Monographs Details: Opuntia antillana Britton & Rose
Authority: Britton, Nathaniel L. Flora Borinqueña.
Description:Species Description - A low, often much-branched cactus, formidably armed with stiff and pungent yellow spines, which fade gray or whitish; its obovate, oblong-obovate or elliptic joints are quite readily detached, its reddish, or yellow flowers attractive. The plant inhabits plains and coastal thickets on the southern dry side of Porto Rico, from the vicinity of Salinas westward, locally plentiful and forming colonies, as near Paso Seco; we have not observed it at elevations higher than about 60 meters, nor in districts with average annual rainfall greater than about 80 centimeters; it often grows in proximity to Opuntia repens, Olaga or Suckers. The species also inhabits Santo Domingo, ranges eastward through the Virgin Islands to Tortola, and is known in the Lesser Antilles from St. Kitts, the type locality.
For an account of the genus Opuntia we refer to our description of Opuntia Dillenii.
Opuntia antillana (of the Antilles) is usually less than 60 centimeters high, ascending, or nearly prostrate, sometimes forming masses a meter broad, the branches usually spreading, and several-pointed. The joints vary from obovate to broadly oblong, or elliptic, and from 7 to 20 centimeters long; they are flat, and rather thin, or, when the plant grows within saline influence somewhat turgid; the rather large, woolly areoles bear many-yellow glochids, and from 3 to 6, unequal, slender, or rather stout, yellow spines from 1 to 6 centimeters long. The few, or several flowers are from 5 to 7 centimeters broad, with obovate petals. The obovoid, red-purple fruit is about 4 centimeters long, or shorter.
Opuntia antillana Britton and Rose; Britton, Memoirs of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden 1: 74. 1918.