Opuntia salmiana (Syn. Austrocylindropuntia salmiana)

Opuntia salmiana on 4-15-12, #86-21.

Opuntia salmiana

op-UN-shee-a   salm-ee-AH-na


Austrocylindropuntia salmiana

oss-troh-sil-in-droh-PUN-tee-uh  salm-ee-AH-na

Other Synonyms include: Cylindropuntia salmiana, Platyopuntia salmiana, Salmonopuntia salmiana, Opuntia spegazzini, Opuntia albiflora, Opuntia ipatiana, Austrocylindropuntia ipatiana, Salmonopuntia salmiana f. rosea, Austrocylindropuntia salmiana var. albiflora, Austrocylindropuntia albiflora, Salmonopuntia salmiana f. alba, Austrocylindropuntia salmiana var. spegazzinii, Austrocylindropuntia spegazzinii, Opuntia salmiana var. spegazzinii, Opuntia spegazzinii, Salmonopuntia salmiana f. glauca… I think I may have even missed a few.

Opuntia salmiana J.Parm. ex Pfeiff. is once again the correct and accepted scientific name for this species of cactus. It was first named and described by Joseph Julien Ghislain Parmentier then later by Louis Karl Georg Pfeiffer in Enumeratio Diagnostica Cactearum in 1837.  

The name was changed to Austrocylindropuntia salmiana (J.Parm. ex Pfeiff.) Backeb. when Curt Backeberg described it as such in Die Cactaceae in 1941 (some references say 1942).  I’m not sure when the “official” name was changed back to Opuntia salmiana. Both scientific names are still widely used on various websites. 

Version 1.1 of The Plant List (Sept. 2013) and Tropicos says Opuntia salmiana Parm. ex Pfeiff and says the original author was Antione Auguste Parmentier. On The Opuntia salmiana page on The Plant List, there is a link to the IPNI (International Plant Names Index) which says, correctly, Opuntia salmiana J.Parm. ex Pfeiff. I sent Tropicos an email informing them of their mistake now let’s see how long it takes them to fix it. 🙂 The Plant List WAS a joint effort between The Missouri Botanical Garden (who maintains Tropicos) and the Royal Botanic Garden-Kew. The RBC launched Plants of the World Online in 2017 while The Plant List has not been maintained since 2013. I believe The Plant List is also in the hands of the Royal Botanic Gardens-Kew now.


Opuntia salmiana on 7-26-12, #112-4.

While living at the mansion in Leland, Mississippi, a good friend of mine, Kyle Hall, brought me a few cutting of a cactus he found growing in a fence row close to where he lived. I’m not sure when he brought them to me, but their first photos were taken on April 15, 2012. I put all the cuttings in the same pot and they took off in no time.

When I did my first research to find out the name of this plant, I sent photos to the owner of Bigfoot Gardens for an ID. There are so many cacti that look alike to me that most of the time I need an expert opinion. At the time, he told me it was an Austrocylindropuntia salmiana. This species has had many names but currently, according to Plants of the World Online and several other databases, Opuntia salmiana is once again the correct and accepted scientific name. That’s weird to me because Opuntia is a genus of Prickly Pears. Other databases, like Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms), maintain Austrocylindropuntia salmiana is still correct. Its possible the websites still using that name are not up-to-date or they choose to leave it as that name based on the description by Curt Backeberg in 1941. Anyone can physically see this species is definitely not a Prickly Pear. But, I will go with what Plants of the World Online by Kew says for now since they are supposed to be the most up-to-date database.



Opuntia salmiana on 7-14-13, #162-21.

After I sold the mansion in Mississippi, dad asked me to move back to mid-Missouri to help with the family farm. So, I gave up a few hundred potted plants and made the trip in February 2013. I kept most of my cactus and succulents, Alocasia, Colocasia, and several other plants I didn’t want to leave behind. Of course, I brought the Opuntia salmiana.

Family: Cactaceae
Origin: Northern Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay
Zones: USDA Zones 9a-11 (20 to 40° F)
Size: Up to 6’ tall
Light: Light shade to full sun
Soil: Well-draining. If grown in pots use 2 parts potting soil with 1 part (chicken) grit and 1 part pumice or perlite.
Water: Average during the summer, sparsely in the winter.

Opuntia salmiana on 9-17-13, #188-17.

I am not sure how tall this cactus grew to, but as you can see in the above photo, one of the plants was almost as tall as the 55-gallon barrel. I gave this plant up along with most of my other potted plants in the summer of 2014. I have yet to find a replacement.

I hope you enjoyed this page and maybe found it useful. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. Please click on “like” if you visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂 You can check out the links below for further reading. The links take you directly to the genus and species of this plant.


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