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Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus

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: EchinocactusView Description 

Habit: Erect, branched [or not], forming compact, +- 1 m diam mounds; branches 30--50(130). Stem: not segmented, [4]15--40[250] cm, [8]15--30[80] cm diam, flat-topped spheric to short-cylindric, hard, tip densely woolly [to glabrous]; ribs [7]11--25[60+], prominent, tubercles indistinct. Spines: (5)10--19 per areole, generally 2--5 mm diam near base, generally awl-shaped, generally flat, ringed with conspicuous ridges, straight to curved; central spines [1]4 per areole. Flower: at stem tip, near distal edge of spine cluster, 4--5 cm diam; perianth yellow tinged with pink; ovary densely long-woolly, spines 0, scaly, distal scales long-tapered, tips spine-like. Fruit: dehiscent via basal pore, ovoid, densely woolly, spineless, but distal scales spine-like at tip. Seed: 2.8--4.7 mm, spheric, or +- reniform to obovoid, shiny or dull, +- red-brown to black.
Species In Genus: 6 species: southwestern United States, Mexico. Etymology: (Greek: spine + cactus)

Echinocactus polycephalus Engelm. & J.M. Bigelow var. polycephalus
Stem: generally spheric. Spines: red to gray (straw), spreading, initially canescent; radial spines 6--14, 3--4.5 cm, spreading, +- curved. Flower: +- 5 cm, inner perianth bright yellow. Fruit: scales < dried perianth. Seed: 2.8--4.7 mm, rounded or faceted, papillate-roughened, generally dull. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Rocky hills, silty valleys; Elevation: < 1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: DMoj, n DSon; Distribution Outside California: to Arizona, Mexico. Flowering Time: Mar--Aug
eFlora Treatment Author: Bruce D. Parfitt
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botanical illustration including Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus


Citation for this treatment: Bruce D. Parfitt 2016. Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on October 24, 2016.

Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2013 Neal Kramer
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2016 Barry Rice
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2013 Barry Rice
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2012 Steve Matson
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2013 Barry Rice
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2009 Keir Morse

More photos of Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus:
DMoj, n DSon;
Markers link to CCH specimen records. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues. Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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.