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Friday, July 22, 2011

Airampoa (Tunilla) sp.

Aurampoa is a genus of small Opuntias, low creeping plants with small pads and nice flowers. The genus was described in 1929 by Czech naturalist and cactus specialist Albert Fric. The description was published in a catalog, as Fric was on bad terms with the 'cactus establishment' of the time and had no access to magazine publishing, and was very brief. Despite that the name become commonly used by both cactus enthusiast and specialists. In 1990-s British botanist Dave Hunt along with J.Iliff decided again to disrespect Fric's work and introduced the name Tunilla for the same group of plants, using the name employed by local people of Argentina for that small Opuntias kind, and my guess be the name means literaly just that  - 'small Opuntia (tuna) kind'.
The specific names withing that genus is a bit hard to match to the plants. Descriptions from different authors do not match, and illustrations accompanying the descriptions are not that common, as the genus was somewhat neglected for a long time. Determining the generic affiliation is not difficult as the flowers are notably distinct among other Opuntoides, but the rest is somewhat hazy.
Airampoas are easy in culture. Most species need to reach relatively large size before flowering, and depend on late winter - early spring watering. Plants usually propagated by cuttings. Flowers last for two days as with most other Opunias, closing for the night.  

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