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Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)

General: Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) is a low-growing cactus with broad, thin stem segments (pads). The pads are medium-sized for a pricklypear (to about 5-inches long by 3-inches wide). The spines are clustered, long (to about 3 inches), and straight. Often there are no spines at the base of the pad. Flowers can be yellow or rose-pink.

Hairspine Cactus is a locally common (uncommon overall, but can be abundant in certain areas) component of vegetation communities on well-drained sandy, gravelly, and rocky soils along washes, canyons, and on upper bajadas and moderate slopes into the lower mountains in the Upper Sonoran (Mojave Desert Scrub and Pinyon-Juniper Woodland), Transition (Yellow Pine), and Canadian (Pine-Fir Forest) life zones.

Around Las Vegas, this cactus is found at middle elevations in the mountains, making it difficult to find without a hike. A few can be found near Willow Springs at Red Rock Canyon NCA (Petroglyph Wall Trail).

Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)

Family: Cactus (Cactaceae).

Other Names: Plains Pricklypear, Opuntia polyacantha.

Plant Form: Upright shrub spreading from the ground.

Height: To about 18-inches tall.

Trunk: None.

Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)

Stems: Divided into segments; flat and broad (pancake shaped). To about 8-inches long and 5-inches wide.

Stem Surface: Smooth.

Spines: Spines 4 to 24 per areole, in all areoles; to about 3-inches long (variable).

Glochids: Present.

Flowers: Blooms late spring and early summer. Inflorescence: Solitary from upper edge of pads. Flower: yellow to magenta, about 2-inches diameter; filaments white, style white, stigma green.

Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)

Fruit: Spiny.

Seeds:

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

Distribution: Central and western North America.

Elevation: 3,000 to 7,000 feet.

Comments:

Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha) Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus (Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha)
Hairspine Cactus in southerwestern Gold Butte NM
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Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170704

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