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Floppy-eared cactus has links to a Sicilian, road kill and detention camp

The Prickly Pear genus, Opuntia, has been split into a number of smaller genera so that the group as a whole is now sometimes given the informal name opuntiads. The opuntiads have flattened 'pads' (cladodes) arising at odd places and angles from another pad.
One of these new genera is Consolea, with about 10 species. Although described in 1930, it has waxed and waned in terms of acceptance by the botanical community. It's named after the nineteenth century Italian botanist Michelangelo Console, a professor at Orto Botanico di Palermo, in Sicily, who studied cacti with French botanist Charles Lemaire.
What it has, that Opuntia doesn't, is a cylindrical trunk - with a central woody axis and not jointed. It also has relatively small flowers, not present at all in the plants I saw growing at the Jardin Botaníco Nacional Cuba, in Havana, in April this year.
The other characteristic feature are the elongated, rabbit-ear like pads. One species, Consolea rubescens (see photog…

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