Cactus Index

 {Click on an image to enlarge, then use the back button to return to this page}
This page last updated on 04/29/2019

Page Notes: In addition to the brief synopsis provided here for each cacti, clicking on its title will take you to a page with additional pictures and info. Cacti are arranged alphabetically by their common name. 
E-P1020505Banana Yucca (Yucca baccata-torr), a.k.a. Blue yucca, Fleshy-fruited yucca, and Datil Yucca, is often quite difficult. Those with broad leaves are sometimes called Spanish Daggers, a name generally applied to the tree-like species of western Texas. Banana yucca is closely related to the Mojave yucca (Y. schidigera), with which it is interspersed where their ranges overlap causing hybrids between them making identification even more difficult. The Banana Yucca with its bluish green leaves is a common species of fruiting cactus native to the deserts of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, from southeastern California north to Utah, east to western Texas and south to Sonora and Chihuahua. It gets its name from its banana-shaped fruit. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1050049Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris) is a low, spreading cactus with short bristles grows 6 to 12 inches high and up to 6 feet wide. The gray-green, jointed stems are wide and flat resembling the tail of a beaver. Oval in shape, the stems are 1 to 6 inches wide and 2 to 13 inches long. The stems grow in clumps with flowers from the top edge of the joints. When in bloom from March to June, it has brilliant red-to-lavender flowers 2 to 3 inches wide with many petals. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1080594Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa) is an upright, branched, cylindrical-stemmed cactus with long stem segments and yellow spines. This cholla is similar to Silver Cholla, but in Buckhorn Cholla, the mature stem segments generally are longer than 6 inches, while those of Silver Cholla are less than 4-inches long. A mature plant can be about 5 to 10 feet in high. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1030082Desert Spinystar (Escobaria vivipara) is a small, round cactus that grows to about 6 inches tall by 3-inches wide (though it is usually 3 by 2 or smaller), often remaining oblong or spherical.. The stem does not have the ribs (flutes) seen in some other cactus. Its short, usually solitary, rounded stem emerges from the ground un-branched. It is densely covered in a mat of star-shaped arrays of straight white spines .4 to .9 inches long (none are fish-hook shaped), with all of the spines pressed closely against the stem. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-IMG_2436-2Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii) grows as a large roughly spherical globe, that after many years, may eventually reach over 3 feet in height. Large plants attain a size of over 2 feet across, and may remain single or produce plantlets at the side to form a clump. There may be up to 35 pronounced ribs in mature plants, though they are not evident in young plants, which may have a knobby appearance. Their flowers are also golden yellow in color, emerging from the large patch of wool at the center of the plant. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1080597Jumping Cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) is an arborescent (tree-like) plant with one low-branching trunk.  Its dense, 1 inch spines completely hide the stem. The cylindrical segments are light to bluish green. They are about 10 inches long and 2.5 inches in diameter. The jumping cholla can be 3 to 12 feet tall and has a single trunk with short drooping branches of chained fruit at the top. The stems are light green and are strongly tuberculate, with tubercles (small, wart-like projections on the stems). For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1010526Mojave Kingcup Cactus (Echinocereus mojavensis) is mound-shaped plant formed of many, densely packed stems that grows to a height of 12-16 inches. It is densely covered with gray, twisted and interlocking spines. The entire plant is a cylindrical mound, without a trunk, that is composed of up to about 500 individual bluish green stems, each usually less than about 2 inches diameter. Its has gray, round, curved (wavy) spines that grow to about 2 inches in length. Its inflorescence consists of solitary funnel-shaped, orange to deep red flowers that emerge from near the tip of individual stems. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1010872Mojave Mound cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus)  a small barrel-shaped cactus and active perennial succulent, is a species of hedgehog cactus a.k.a Kingcup Cactus, Claretcup, Hedgehog and Claret Hedgehog. When its many stems are in full flower, making breathtaking mounds of scarlet, it can be one of the most beautiful cacti in the desert. In general it is a mounding cactus, forming bulbous piles of few to hundreds of spherical to cylindrical stems. It is densely spiny and somewhat woolly. There are a number of varieties of this highly variable cactus species, often with two strikingly different forms growing in the same area, but not all are universally recognized.For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1050090Mojave Yucca (Yucca schidigera), also known as the Spanish Dagger, is a flowering plant in the family Agavaceae. This small evergreen tree can grow 3 to 16 feet tall, with a dense crown of spirally arranged bayonet-like leaves on top of a conspicuous basal trunk. The leaves are narrow, linear, and spreading in all directions from the stem, and they are wide-based and have stiff, yellow-green blades 12" to 60" long and 1" to 1-1/2" wide.  They are also tipped with terminal spines and have coarse fibers along the margins, which Yucca whipplei lacks.  The cream-colored flowers appear in a long terminal cluster.  The individual flowers are large, pendent, bell shaped and occasionally have a purplish tinge. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

E-P1040746Pencil Cholla (Cylindropuntia ramosissima), a.k.a. Diamond Cholla and Branched Pencil Cholla, is an upright, shrub-like cactus with very narrow stem segments and long, but sparse spines. The stem segments are short (to about 3-inches) and narrow (about 1/4-inch diameter). The spines tend to be solitary rather than clustered as in most cactus. Starting off as a low spreading cactus, this erect and treelike cactus can grow to a maximum height of 6 feet.For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.

EP-P1010543Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia engelmannii), has an overall form that is generally shrubby, with dense clumps that can grow from 12 inches to 11 feet high, usually with no apparent trunk. The pads are green (rarely blue-green), obovate to round, about 5-12 inches long and 4.5-8 inches wide. Its glochids (spines) are yellow initially, then brown with age. Spines are extremely variable, with anywhere from 1-8 per areole, and often absent from lower areoles; they are yellow to white, slightly flattened, and .5-3 inches long. The flowers are yellow, occasionally reddish, 2.5-4 inches in diameter and about as long. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above. UPDATED on 06/07/13.

EP-P1010006Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia-phaeacantha) typically grow with flat, fleshy pads that look like large leaves. These rounded platyclades are armed with two kinds of spines; large, smooth, fixed spines and small, hair-like prickles called glochids, that easily penetrate skin and detach from the plant. The pads are actually modified branches or stems that serve several functions -- water storage, photosynthesis and flower production. Many types of prickly pears grow into dense, tangled structures. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.
UPDATED on 06/21/13.

IMG_2144Red Compass Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus cylindraceus) is a large, round, barrel-shaped cactus with ribs (flutes) running from bottom to top. Barrel cactus start out short and wide (globular), then grow to about 5-ft tall and 16 inches in diameter. The plants are covered with relatively long, stout, flattened spines. The spines are erect and spreading, the longest are recurved, and they have some red color. Yellow flowers form a ring around the top of the stem. For more detailed info and pictures, click the title above.