Plant Systematics and Evolution

, Volume 133, Issue 1–2, pp 15–28 | Cite as

Pollination of the southwestern Opuntias

  • Verne Grant
  • Paul D. Hurd


This paper presents an overview of pollination systems inOpuntia sens. lat. in the southwestern United States. The floral syndrome of large, colorful, bowl-shaped, diurnal flowers is present in all of the prickly-pear species and most of the cholla (Cylindropuntia) species in this area. Pollination by medium-sized and large bees is established for some of the species with this floral syndrome and is predicted for the others. The same floral syndrome is widespread inOpuntia in other geographical areas.—Deviations from this floral syndrome occur in certain species of southwestern chollas, one of which has nocturnal disc-shaped flowers, and in several tropical American species groups or segregate genera with red hummingbird flowers. But such cases are relatively infrequent. Divergence between species with respect to floral syndrome and pollination system is not a common feature in the evolutionary pattern ofOpuntia.

Key words

Cactaceae Opuntia Flower pollination bee pollination flower beetles 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Backeberg, C., 1970: Das Kakteenlexikon. Ed. 2. Jena: — VEB Gustav Fischer.Google Scholar
  2. Baker, H. G., Hurd, P. D., 1968: Intrafloral ecology. — Ann. Rev. Entomol.13, 385–414.Google Scholar
  3. Barrows, E. M., Chabot, M. R., Michener, C. D., Snyder, T. P., 1976: Foraging and mating behavior inPerdita texana (Hymenoptera: Andrenidae). — Contrib. Entomol. Univ. Kansas49, 275–279.Google Scholar
  4. Benson, L., 1969a: The Cacti of Arizona. Ed. 3. — Tucson: University of Arizona Press.Google Scholar
  5. —, 1969b: The Native Cacti of California. — Stanford: University Press.Google Scholar
  6. —, 1969c:Cactaceae. InLundell, C. L. (Ed.): Flora of Texas2, 221–317. — Texas: Texas Research Foundation, Renner.Google Scholar
  7. —, 1965: The southern Californian prickly pears-invasion, adulteration, and trial-by-fire. — Ann. Missouri Bot. Garden52, 262–273.Google Scholar
  8. Britton, N. L., Rose, J. N., 1963: TheCactaceae. Ed. 2, reprint. New York: Dover Publications. (Original printing of edition 2 in 1937.)Google Scholar
  9. Cockerell, F. D. A., 1900: The Cactus bees; genusLithurgus. — Amer. Nat.34, 487–488.Google Scholar
  10. Daumann, E., 1930: Nektarien und Bienenbesuch beiOpuntia monacantha Haw. — Biologia Generalis6, 353–376.Google Scholar
  11. Earle, W. H., 1963: Cacti of the Southwest. — Science Bulletin, Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, Arizona.Google Scholar
  12. Grant, V., 1950: The flower constancy of bees. — Bot. Rev.16, 379–398.Google Scholar
  13. —, 1971: Dynamics of clonal microspecies in cholla cactus. — Evolution25, 144–155.Google Scholar
  14. - - 1979a: Pollination ofEchinocereus fasciculatus andFerocactus wislizenii (Pollination of North American cacti, I.). — Pl. Syst. Evol.132,Google Scholar
  15. - - 1979b: Pollination ofOpuntia basilaris andO. littoralis (Pollination of North American cacti, III.). — Pl. Syst. Evol.133.Google Scholar
  16. - -Hurd, P. D., 1979: Pollination ofOpuntia lindheimeri and related species (Pollination of North American cacti, II.). — Pl. Syst. Evol.132.Google Scholar
  17. Hurd, P. D., 1958: Observations on the nesting habits of some New World carpenter bees with remarks on their importance in the problem of species formation(Hymenopteria: Apoidea). — Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer.51, 365–375.Google Scholar
  18. —, 1978a: An Annotated Catalog of the Carpenter Bees (genusXylocopa Latreille) of the Western Hemisphere(Hymenoptera: Anthrophoridae). — Washington, D. C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hurd, P. D., 1978b: SuperfamilyApoidea. InKrombein, K. V., & al. (Eds.): Catalog ofHymenoptera in America North of Mexico,2. — Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press.Google Scholar
  20. Johnson, D. S., 1918: The fruit ofOpuntia fulgida. A study of perennation and proliferation in the fruits of certainCactaceae. — Carnegie Institution of Washington, Publ. no.269.Google Scholar
  21. Knuth, P., 1906–1909: Handbook of Flower Pollination1–3 (translation). Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
  22. Linsley, E. G., 1958: The ecology of solitary bees. — Hilgardia27, 543–599.Google Scholar
  23. —, 1966: Observations on the floral relationships of the Galapagos carpenter bee. — Pan-Pacific Entomol.42, 1–18.Google Scholar
  24. Loew, E., 1904–1905: Knuth's Handbuch der Blütenbiologie3. — Leipzig: W. Engelmann.Google Scholar
  25. Michener, C. D., 1937: Records and descriptions of North American bees. — Ann. & Mag. Nat. Hist., ser. 10,19, 405.Google Scholar
  26. —, 1938: American bees of the genusHeriades. — Ann. Entomol. Soc. Amer.31, 514–531.Google Scholar
  27. —, 1939: A revision of the genusAshmeadiella. — Amer. Midl. Nat.22, 1–84.Google Scholar
  28. —, 1954: Agenus of bees new to the Illinois region. — J. Kansas Entomol. Soc.27, 13.Google Scholar
  29. Parsons, C. T., 1943: A revision of nearcticNitidulidae (Coleoptera). — Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool.92, 121–278.Google Scholar
  30. Pijl, L., van der, 1937: Disharmony between Asiatic flower-birds and American bird-flowers. — Annals Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg48, 17–26.Google Scholar
  31. Pinkava, D. J., McLeod, M. G., McGill, L. A., Brown, R. C., 1973: Chromosome numbers in some cacti of western North America, II. — Brittonia25, 2–9.Google Scholar
  32. Porsch, O., 1938: Das Bestäubungsleben der Kakteenblüte, I.Cactaceae. — Jahrb. Deutsch. Kakteen-Gesellsch.1938 (I): 1–80.Google Scholar
  33. Toumey, J. W., 1895: Vegetal dissemination in the genusOpuntia. — Bot. Gaz.30, 356–361.Google Scholar
  34. —, 1899: Sensitive stamens in the genusOpuntia. — Asa Gray Bull.7, 35–37.Google Scholar
  35. Whitehead, J., 1936–1937:Opuntia leptocaulis. — Cactus and Succulent J.8. 51–54.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Verne Grant
    • 1
  • Paul D. Hurd
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of TexasAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyNational Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian InstitutionWashington, DCUSA

Personalised recommendations