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Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Typical growth form

General: Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti) is a small, round cactus that grows to about 6 inches tall by 3-inches wide (usually 3 by 2 or smaller). The stem does not have the ribs (flutes) seen in some other cactus. The stem is densely covered with relatively long, stout, straight white spines with reddish-brown tips (none are fish-hook shaped), and all of the spines are pressed closely against the stem. Desert Spinystars tend to grow in small groups, so if you find one, look around for more.

Desert Spinystars are small and inconspicuous, but interesting members of desert vegetation communities. Desert Spinystars occur in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub) life zone.

This species is difficult to find because they are small and occur infrequently, but look for them on rocky limestone outcrops and along limestone ridges. A "dense" population can be found just northeast of the Red Rock Canyon NCA Visitor Center. A few can be found along the trail up Fossil Ridge.

Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar with developing flower buds

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae).

Other names: Mammillaria cactus, Coryphantha deserti var. deserti.

Plant Form: Short, usually solitary, rounded stem that emerges from the ground. Unbranched.

Height: Usually 2 to 3-inches tall (to 6-inches tall and 3-inches in diameter).

Leaves: None (reduced to spines).

Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar flower

Flowers: Blooms in early summer. Inflorescence: solitary flowers at the top of the stem. Flowers straw to yellowish, about 1-inch in diameter. Flowers open during the afternoon and only stay open for two hours or so.

Seeds: Small (2 mm), brown.

Habitat: Limestone soils and rocky limestone ridges.

Distribution: Southeastern California, southern Nevada, Southwest Utah, northwest Arizona.

Elevation: 3,300 to 8,000 ft.

Comments:

Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti) Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Typical growth form
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Typical growth form
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Unusual twins
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Tall, thin individual
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Unusual cluster of stems
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar with flower buds ready to open
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Flower at top of stem
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar flower
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar flower
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar with dry fruit
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti) Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Unusual many-headed Desert Spinystar
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
Unusual many-headed Desert Spinystar
Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara var. deserti)
In PJ-Forest habitat, sprinkled with juniper seed husks
More to come
More to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 178027

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