Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

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Jepson Interchange (more information)
©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.



Edward F. Anderson (except Opuntia)

Perennial, shrub, tree, generally fleshy
Stem cylindric, spheric, or flat; surface smooth, tubercled, or ribbed (fluted); nodal areoles bear flowers, generally bear spines from center ("central spines") and margin ("radial spines") (Opuntia areoles bear small, barbed, deciduous bristles sometimes called glochids, generally also bear spines)
Leaf generally 0
Flower generally solitary, bisexual, sessile, ± radial; perianth parts generally many, grading from scale-like to petal-like; stamens many; ovary appearing inferior, ± submerged in stem, so generally with areoles on surface, style 1, stigma lobes generally many
Fruit generally fleshy, generally indehiscent, spiny, scaly, or smooth
Seeds many
Genera in family: 93 genera, ± 2000 species: especially Am deserts; many cultivated
Etymology: (Greek: thorny plant)
Reference: [Benson 1982 Cacti of US & Can; Hunt & Taylor eds 1990 Bradleya 8:85–107]



Stems 1–200, generally in ± 50 cm clumps, each 2–15 cm, 2–15 cm diam, ± depressed to cylindric; ribs inconspicuous; tubercles grooved on upper surface from areole to base; central spines straight, ± following tubercle axis; radial spines wide-spreading ± in 1 plane from tubercle tip
Flower 1–3(6) cm diam; outer perianth parts ciliate
Fruit becoming dry, spheric to club-shaped, red or green; perianth persistent
Seed reniform, black or brown, pitted
Species in genus: 16 species: w US, Mex
Etymology: (R. & N. Escobar, Mexico)
Reference: [Taylor 1986 Cact Succ J Gr Brit 4:36–44]


E. vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb.

Stem 2–15 cm, 2–15 cm diam; tubercles 6–9 mm; spines dense, central spines 3–12, white, tip darker; radial spines 12–40, 9–25 mm, straight, white
Flower 2.5–5 cm diam, straw-yellow, yellow-green, pink, magenta, to purplish
Fruit 12–25 mm, elliptic in outline, green, sometimes with a few scales
Ecology: Sandy to rocky soils
Elevation: 75–2700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Desert
Distribution outside California: to Utah, Arizona, Mexico
Synonyms: Coryphantha v. (Nutt.) Britton & Rose; Mammillaria v. (Nutt.) Haw


var. alversonii (J.M. Coult.) D.R. Hunt


Stem generally 1, 10–15 cm, 6–8 cm diam, cylindric; central spines 8–10; radial spines 12–18
Flower ± 3 cm diam, magenta to pink
Ecology: Sandy or rocky areas, creosote-bush scrub
Elevation: 75–600 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Mojave Desert, Sonoran Desert
Flowering time: May–Jun
Synonyms: Coryphantha v. var. a. (J.M. Coult.) L.D. Benson; Mammillaria a. (J.M. Coult.) H. Zeissold
Threatened by collecting
Horticultural information: In cultivation.

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