Double Header

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

I posted this in the Plant ID Forum this morning. So far, no takers so I thought I would double post the double header:

I collected seed from an unknown (to me) Opuntia last fall. It was one wicked plant - hefty spines and thick pads. The plant was about 1.5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Definitely cold hardy as it was growing on a college campus in the hills just above Carson City NV. I wasn't smart enough to take photos of it - probably because it was snowing and the wind was blowing and it was cold out there.

To the question: Have you ever seen a double cotyledon on a Opuntia? When the first seed sprouted, I thought it was a fluke but every one of them has the same double head - one large and one smaller coming off the base of the stem of the larger.

It seems this should be an identifying characteristic.

Any thoughts?


Thumbnail by DaisyPlantLady
Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

It is indeed an identifying characteristic. Opuntias are dicots and produce 2 seed leaves. All cacti will produce (often tiny) seed leaves before they start normal-looking growth.

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

Yep, got the Opuntia are dicot part. But this little dicot (and all his siblings) are working over-time and producing two sets per plant. An Opuntia that has two sets of seed leaves .... I've never seen it before.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

Those are not two plants in the picture?

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

Nope. The little one is coming off the base of the stem of the big one. I ripped one apart to figure that out.

Baja California, Mexico(Zone 11)

So they're all Siamese twins. Pretty weird.

Reno, NV(Zone 6b)

Yes, Siamese twins with a big sibling and a little sibling. weird

Americus, GA

a few of my opuntia and other seedlings did that too. I chalked it up to a mutation and just let them be.

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