A new species of Opuntia Mill. (Cactaceae), endemic to the region of Villa de Tezontepec, in the state of Hidalgo, Mexico, is described. Farmers in the region call it “winter xoconostle” (in náhuatl, “xoco” = “acid”; “noxtle” = “tunas”). Opuntia tezontepecana Gallegos-Vázquez & Scheinvar is compared with the two sympatric species that have a glabrous epidermis to the unaided eye, but are pulverulent under SEM: O. joconostle F. A. C. Weber and O. matudae Scheinvar, both xoconostles. We observed the following distinctive characteristics in the new species: the mature cladodes as widely elliptic, the areoles in eight or nine series, spines on all areoles; spines and glochids structurally different from those of the sympatric species; the pericarpel with inconspicuous tubercles, without spines, but the superior ones with one or two bristles; fruits ellipsoid, with the floral scar slightly sunken, with a shiny epidermis, light green with red-orange spots, wide walls, acidic, rose-colored, edible; its funicles dry or semi-dry and tasteless, and characteristic seeds. Birds only pierce the walls of the fruit and eat the dry or semi-dry funicles. Fruits remain on the cladodes for 15 months or more.
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