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2004 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 1 ECOLOGY OF EASTERN PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS
 

Summary: 2004 THE MICHIGAN BOTANIST 1
ECOLOGY OF EASTERN PRICKLY PEAR CACTUS
(OPUNTIA HUMIFUSA) IN OAK OPENINGS PRESERVE,
NORTHWESTERN OHIO
Scott R. Abella* and John F. Jaeger
Metroparks of the Toledo Area
5100 W. Central Ave.
Toledo, OH 43615
ABSTRACT
Opuntia humifusa (eastern prickly pear cactus) is listed as potentially threatened in Ohio, and we
examined the characteristics of O. humifusa sites in Oak Openings Preserve in northwestern Ohio's
Oak Openings region in an attempt to provide data that may help protect this species. Opuntia humi-
fusa occurrences were associated with loose sands of the xeric Udipsamment Ottokee and Oakville
soil series on sites that had been cleared before the 1940s during failed agricultural attempts. Shad-
ing by encroaching canopy trees is a threat to several O. humifusa populations in Oak Openings Pre-
serve, and treatments that reduce canopy cover at these sites may help sustain this species and in-
crease the proportion of flowering individuals. Because the patchy distribution of O. humifusa makes
the species susceptible to local extinctions, the acquisition of sites by conservation organizations
containing O. humifusa or providing suitable habitat is consistent with the perpetuation of this rare
species in the Oak Openings region. Sandy sites previously disturbed by agricultural clearing, sand

  

Source: Abella, Scott R. - School of Life Sciences, University of Nevada at Las Vegas

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology