Autor: (Monville) F. Ritter
Genus of Opuntia dedicated by Monville to Friedrich Anton Wilhelm Miquel (1811-1871), director of the botanical garden of the University of Utrecht and Leiden herbarium in Holland between 1859 and 1871 (see portrait above, public domain).
A genus of shrubby erect plants forming clumps of several metres in diameter, with articulated cylindrical stems, branching at or near the apex, sturdy, glaucous. Tubercles well defined, prominent, elongated. Fleshy leaves with reddish tip, deciduous. Areoles having glochids and many long spines, sheath absent.
Fowers diurnal, appearing near the tip of stems, not opening completely, white, yellow, salmon pink to intense pink, pollinated by insects. Fruits globose to egg-shaped, whitish to pale green, fleshy, with aqueous pulp, indehiscent; areoles covered with spines. Seeds quite large (3,5-5mm, yellowish-white to ochre, flattened, discoid, with prominent margin; funicular enveloppe hard, slightly hairy.
The monotypic genus Miqueliopuntia grows in full sun, in dry, extremely barren areas, of the southern Atacama desert, on clastic sedimentary soils from 80 m up to approximately 1550 m in altitude. The periods of aridity are long,from 6 to 10 months with winter rainfall of 100-300 mm.
Chile (Antofagasta, Atacama, Coquimbo).
Currently only one recognised species:
– Miqueliopuntia miquelii* (Monv.) F.Ritter 1980