Biologist of New World Succulents


Lucas C. Majure, Ph.D.

Ph.D., University of Florida, 2012

Email: lmajure[at]
Phone: 480 481.8129



  • Phylogenetics, biogeography, morphological evolution, reticulate evolution, and polyploidy
  • Plant systematics and speciation, especially of Opuntieae (Cactaceae)
  • Floristics

Personal statement

My research focuses on the understanding of evolutionary relationships of plants through the use of molecular phylogenetic methods, as well as morphology and cytology. With the phylogenetic history of groups of plants better characterized, we can test questions regarding the biogeographic history, morphological evolution, origins of species and species boundaries within those groups. Thus, systematic studies and taxonomic treatments also are enhanced through the knowledge gained from utilizing a phylogenetic framework. My work also involves trying to understand reticulate evolution, which often is correlated with genome duplication (polyploidy). Tribe Opuntieae (Cactaceae) has been the focus of much of this work, as the group exhibits a high frequency of hybridization often associated with polyploidy. I have specifically focused on certain groups within Opuntia, the economically and ecologically important prickly pears, and am working on revisionary studies for certain members of this group as well (e.g., the O. humifusa complex, O. macrorhiza complex, the Caribbean clade of Opuntia).

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Selected Publications

Majure, L.C., and R. Puente. 2014. Phylogenetic relationships and morphological evolution in Opuntia s. str. and closely related members of tribe Opuntieae. Succulent Plant Research 8: 9-30.

Soltis, D.E., M.C. Segovia-Salcedo, I. Jordon-Thaden, L.C. Majure, N.M. Miles, E.V. Madrodiev, W. Mei, M.B. Cortez, P.S. Soltis, and M. Gittzendanner. 2014. Are polyploids really evolutionary dead ends (again)? A critical reappraisal of Mayrose et al. (2011). New Phytologist DOI: 10.1111/nph.12756.

Majure, L.C., Douglas E. Soltis, Pamela S. Soltis, and W.S. Judd. 2013. A case of mistaken identity, Opuntia abjecta, long-lost in synonymy under the Caribbean species, O. triacantha, and a reassessment of the enigmatic O. cubensis. Brittonia DOI 10.1007/s12228-013-9307-z.

Majure, L.C., R. Puente, M.P. Griffith, Douglas E. Soltis, and W.S. Judd. 2013. Opuntia lilae, another Tacinga hidden in Opuntia s.l. Systematic Botany 38: 444-450.

Majure, L.C., R. Puente, and D.J. Pinkava. 2012. Miscellaneous chromosome counts in Opuntieae DC. (Cactaceae) with a compilation of counts for the group. Haseltonia 18: 67-78.

Majure, L.C., R. Puente, M.P. Griffith, W.S. Judd, P.S. Soltis, and D.S. Soltis. 2012. Phylogeny of Opuntia s.s. (Cactaceae): clade delineation, geographic origins, and reticulate evolution. American Journal of Botany 99: 847-864.

Majure, L.C., W.S. Judd, P.S. Soltis, and D.E. Soltis. 2012. Cytogeography of the Humifusa clade of Opuntia s.s. Mill. 1754 (Cactaceae: Opuntioideae): Correlations with geographic distributions and morphological differentiation of a polyploid complex. Comparative Cytogenetics 6: 53-77. doi: 10.3897/compcytogen.v6i1.2523. Download PDF.

Majure, L.C. and E. Ribbens. 2012. Chromosome counts of Opuntia (Cactaceae), prickly pear cacti, in the Midwestern United States and environmental factors restricting the distribution of Opuntia fragilis. Haseltonia 17: 58-65.

Majure, L.C. and G. N. Ervin. 2008. The Opuntia (Cactaceae) of Mississippi. Haseltonia 14: 111-126.

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