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Grusonia pulchella

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: GrusoniaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: CLUB-CHOLLA
Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: 14 species: North America, Mexico. Etymology: (Hermann August Jacques Gruson, German engineer, industrialist, 1821--1895) Note: Hybridization unknown.
eFlora Treatment Author: Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman

Grusonia pulchella (Engelm.) H. Rob.
Habit: 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. Chromosomes: 2n=22.
Ecology: Borders of dry lakes, sandy flats; Elevation: 1500--1700 m. Bioregional Distribution: SNE; Distribution Outside California: Nevada, western Utah. Flowering Time: May--Jun Note: Highly variable; juvenile forms occasionally flower.
Synonyms: Opuntia pulchella Engelm.
eFlora Treatment Author: Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

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botanical illustration including Grusonia pulchella


Citation for this treatment: Marc Baker, Bruce D. Parfitt & Jon Rebman 2016. Grusonia pulchella, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 04, 2016.

Grusonia pulchella
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© 2010 Neal Kramer
Grusonia pulchella
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer
Grusonia pulchella
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© 1990 Gary A. Monroe
Grusonia pulchella
click for enlargement
© 1990 Gary A. Monroe
Grusonia pulchella
click for enlargement
© 2010 Neal Kramer

More photos of Grusonia pulchella in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for 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.