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Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)

General: Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) is cactus with pad-type stem segments that tends to grow in clumps close to the ground. Large spines (central and radial spines) are absent, but the pads and fruits are well-defended by tiny glochids (short, hair-like spines) that are hard to see on some varieties and even harder to remove from your hands.

Beavertail Pricklypear often is a common component of vegetation communities on well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on desert flats, upper bajadas, and moderate slopes into the lower mountains in the Lower Sonoran (Creosote-Bursage Flats) and Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland) life zones.

Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae).

Other Names: Beavertail cactus.

Plant Form: Low-growing, clumped shrub with pancake-like stem segments.

Height: To about 16 inches.

Trunk: None.

Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)

Stems: Divided into segments (pads); each pad broad and thin (pancake shaped).

Stem Surface: Pads generally smooth, adorned with glochids at each ariole.

Spines: Central: none. Radial: none. Glochids: Present.

Flowers: Blooms during early summer. Inflorescence: solitary flowers. Flowers: petals numerous, large, pink-magenta; stamens numerous, yellow.

Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)

Fruit: 3/4 to 1-1/2 inches long, green; becoming dry and tan; well defended by glochids on about 25 to 75 areoles per fruit.

Seeds: Dark brown, round, many.

Habitat: Dry, well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils on upper bajadas and moderate slopes in the lower mountains.

Distribution: California deserts to Utah, and south through Arizona and into Mexico.

Elevation: Near sea level to over 7,000 feet.

Comments:

Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
During winter and when dry, Beavertail pads get crinkly
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
A variety of Beavertail Cactus with prominent glochids
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
A variety of Beavertail Cactus with prominent glochids
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)
Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris) Beavertail Pricklypear (Opuntia basilaris)

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170919

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