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Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted

Perennial herb, shrub, tree, generally fleshy. Stem: cylindric to spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (grooved); nodal areoles bearing flowers. Leaf: generally 0 or early-deciduous, flat to ± cylindric. Spines: areoles generally with central, radial spines, occasionally with glochids. Flower: generally 1 per areole, bisexual [unisexual], sessile, radial [bilateral]; perianth parts generally many [5], scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary inferior [superior], style 1, stigma lobes generally several [many]. Fruit: dry to fleshy or juicy, indehiscent to variously dehiscent, spiny, scaly, or naked; tubercled or smooth. Seed: generally many, occasionally 0–few.
± 125 genera, ± 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. [Parfitt & Gibson 2004 FNANM 4:92–257] Spines smaller, fewer (0) in shade forms; yellow spines blacken in age. Introduced species increasingly escape cultivation. Hybridization common in some genera. Taxa of Escobaria in TJM (1993) moved to Coryphantha. —Scientific Editors: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Unabridged references: [Hunt 2006 The New Cactus Lexicon, DH Books, Milborne Port, England]

Key to Cactaceae


Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman

Perennial herb or shrub, erect to decumbent, many-branched, matted, succulent. Stem: winter- or drought-deciduous, regularly segmented, segments < 30 cm, < 6 cm diam, cylindric to club-shaped, fleshy, glabrous; ribs 0, tubercles generally elongate, occasionally 0. Leaf: deciduous. Spines: 0–many per areole, densest and longest near stem tip, < 4 mm wide, awl- to dagger-shaped, flat to angular, straight, roughened, tip smooth or barbed, epidermis at spine tip separating as a papery sheath; glochids generally numerous in each areole. Flower: lateral to terminal on stem, from upper portion of areole, 30–50 mm diam; perianth yellow or pink; ovary glabrous, spines 0–many, glochids many in each areole, scales 0. Fruit: indehiscent, obconic, base generally long-tapering, glabrous to densely spiny, glochids many in each areole. Seed: 3–6 mm, ± round, encased in an aril; bony, ± white when dry.
14 species: North America, Mexico. (H.A.J. Gruson, German engineer, industrialist, 1821–1895) Hybridization unknown.
Unabridged etymology: (Hermann August Jacques Gruson, German engineer, industrialist, 1821–1895)

Key to Grusonia

G. pulchella (Engelm.) H. Rob. BEAUTIFUL CLUB-CHOLLA
Perennial herb generally < 0.2 m diam, occasionally much larger. Stem: 10–20 cm, single to clumped, from glochid-covered tuber; segments narrowly club-shaped to cylindric, generally terminal < 10 cm, 0.5–2.5 cm diam; tubercles occasionally 0, generally 6–9 mm, < 1.5 mm high. Spines: < 15, < 6 cm, bulbous at base, largest flat, sharply angled; sheath separating only near tip; glochids of tuber generally 1–1.5 cm. Flower: inner perianth pink-magenta, 1.5–2.5 cm; filaments green to yellow. Fruit: 2–3 cm, fleshy, red; spines generally thin, numerous, crowded. Seed: 3–6 mm.
2n=22. Borders of dry lakes, sandy flats; 1500–1700 m. East of Sierra Nevada; Nevada, western Utah. [Opuntia pulchella Engelm.] Highly variable; juvenile forms occasionally flower. May–Jun [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 26 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Grusonia, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 26 2015

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click for enlargement Grusonia pulchella
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2003 Christopher L. Christie

Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Grusonia pulchella Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.