Julie over at Succulents by J commented today about one of my previous posts where I discussed my peculiar Beavertail Prickly Pear with its oddly shaped pads and unusually large size. This cactus came as one of the 62 one-gallon plants I had chosen to have installed by the landscape company. It was clearly marked as O. basilaris, and it looked completely normal at the time it was planted. As soon as it began growing, I knew something just wasn't right about it. At the time of the post, I hadn't been able to identify the problem with this cactus, and although I still don't know for sure what's going on with it, I have discovered a possibility.
A couple of months after my post, I saw an Opuntia sp. at the nursery called "Crazy Wavy Davy." It was a hybrid of some sort. It definitely wasn't an O. basilaris, but the pads had wavy, scalloped shapes. I've done some research on this name, but find nothing. Of course, when I went back to the nursery it was gone and they had no more of them. It got me wondering if my Beavertail could possibly be a hybrid. I've checked out Opuntia hybrids to no avail. Recently I snapped off a pad and planted it in anothor part of my garden as an experiment. So far it is normal looking, and it is producing new pads. If those are normal, then I'm going to assume the problem is environmental.
My sister took this photo of her new O. basilaris this past spring. The flower color is the reason I chose this species. If I don't get flowers on my so-called "Crazy Wavy Davy" next spring, I'm going to be really disappointed. I wasn't looking for another cactus oddity or another garden mystery. I just want some fuchsia flowers!