Autor: D.R. Hunt
Anagram of Opuntia, but at the same time referring to Puno, city of Peru near where the genus was found.
Monotypic genus of low growing plants forming wide compact cushions of several metres in diameter, with short, cylindrical, sometimes globose and tuberculate segmented stems, densely covered with hairs (trichomes). Leaves tiny, cylindrical, almost hidden by hairs, soon deciduous. Areoles with fine hairs, with scattered, sunken glochids, easily detached. A single, short spine (2-2.5cm), yellow.
Flowers diurnal, self-sterile, with hairy pericarpel, golden yellow, pollinated by hymenoptera. Fruits egg-shaped, thinwalled, containing some pulp, yellow to pale pink when ripe. Seeds large (up to 5 mm in diameter), pale yellow, having a funicular envelope densely covered with trichomes.
The monotypic genus Punotia grows in the highlands of the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes, forming compact cushions, from 4100 up to 4700 m in altitude, in regions where climate change has evolved since the last ice age (10,000 years B.P.), to become 3500 years B.P., a steppe area with wetlands (Graf 1981). This genus likes constant soil moisture and the roots should never dry out during the growing season! It should be the same for Austrocylindropuntia fioccosa, since this taxon grows very often sympatric up to 4550 m together with Punotia lagopus.
Peru (Puno), Bolivia (La Paz).
Currently only one recognised species:
– Punotia lagopus* (K.Schumann) D.R.Hunt 2011