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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 May 06, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 06, 2016.

Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2013 Barry Rice
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2009 Keir Morse
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
click for enlargement
© 2013 Barry Rice
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
click for enlargement
© 2013 Barry Rice
Echinocactus polycephalus var. polycephalus
click for enlargement
© 2013 Barry Rice

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. 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.