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Sclerocactus polyancistrus

Higher Taxonomy
Family: CactaceaeView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: 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.
Genera In Family: +- 125 genera, +- 1800 species: America (especially deserts), Africa; many cultivated, some edible. Note: 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.
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Bruce D. Parfitt, Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin, Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: SclerocactusView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Habit: Erect or ascending, branches generally 0. Stem: 5--20 cm, 2--12 cm diam, ovoid to cylindric, not segmented, firm; ribs 8--21, prominent; tubercles distinct along ribs. Spines: [2]10--24 per areole, 0.3--2.1 mm diam, needle-like or awl-shaped, straight to curved or hooked; central spines 1--11 per areole. Flower: +- terminal, from upper edge of spine cluster, 25--75 mm diam; perianth +- green-yellow to magenta; ovary glabrous, spineless, scales sparse, rounded, ciliate at least near tip. Fruit: dehiscent by 2--4 short longitudinal slits, cylindric to +- spheric, spines 0. Seed: 2--3.7 mm, reniform, tubercled, glossy or shiny, black.
Species In Genus: +- 25 species: southwestern United States, Mexico. Etymology: (Greek: hard or cruel cactus)
eFlora Treatment Author: J. Mark Porter & Edward F. Anderson

Sclerocactus polyancistrus (Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow) Britton & Rose
Stem: 10--45 cm, cylindric; ribs 13--17. Spines: white, red, or dark +- red-brown; central spines of 2 kinds, hooked central spines 5--10 cm, red-brown, distal-most central spines 3.7--8.6(13) cm; radial spines 10--15 per areole, 2--5 cm, 0.3--0.5 mm wide at base, white, flat. Flower: rose-purple to magenta. Fruit: 20--30 mm, 15--20 mm diam; scales narrow, ciliate near tip.
Ecology: Limestone areas, hills and canyons, alluvial slopes; creosote-bush scrub, Joshua-tree woodland; Elevation: 750--2100 m. Bioregional Distribution: W&I, DMoj; Distribution Outside California: Nevada. Flowering Time: Apr--Jun
eFlora Treatment Author: J. Mark Porter & Edward F. Anderson
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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botanical illustration including Sclerocactus polyancistrus


Citation for this treatment: J. Mark Porter & Edward F. Anderson 2016. Sclerocactus polyancistrus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 03, 2016.

Sclerocactus polyancistrus
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© 2012 Steve Matson
Sclerocactus polyancistrus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Steve Matson
Sclerocactus polyancistrus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Steve Matson
Sclerocactus polyancistrus
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© 2014 Neal Kramer
Sclerocactus polyancistrus
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© 2008 Gary A. Monroe
Sclerocactus polyancistrus
click for enlargement
© 2012 Steve Matson

More photos of Sclerocactus polyancistrus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Sclerocactus polyancistrus:
W&I, DMoj;
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).

View elevation by latitude chart
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.