Is The Prickly Pear Cactus Endangered

84 Opuntia species have been evaluated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and are now placed on the Red List of Threatened Species. Two of them are Endangered, two are Critically Endangered, and one is Vulnerable. The main risks to these species include habitat loss brought on by industrial expansion, livestock ranching, and farming; plant collection; outdoor activities; and climate change.

O. abjecta, a species that is critically endangered, is only found in Florida on Long Key, Crawl Key, and Big Pine Key. This native species’ population has decreased as a result of habitat loss, the spread of kalanchoe plants that are not native, and deer that consume the cacti while also harming the ecosystem. Another danger to these little islands is the rise in sea level brought on by climate change. The Bakersfield prickly pear, O. treleasei, is a species that is both on the state and federal endangered species list maintained by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

These cactuses themselves can endanger local fauna in other locations. They have escaped cultivation in some remote locations and developed into troublesome weeds that are challenging to get rid of. The Global Invasive Species Database contains data on invasive alien species that endanger native biodiversity and natural places, including O. ficus-indica.

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Beavertail Prickly Pear

This cactus, which has deep magenta flowers, is common in the deserts of Arizona, Nevada, California, Colorado, and northwest Mexico. It is a low-growing prickly pear that rarely grows higher than 30 cm (one foot).

Pancake Prickly Pear

This tall prickly pear can grow to a height of eight feet (two meters) and bear hundreds of pads, but beware the clusters of one- to two-inch (three to five centimeter) spines. You can find it in the southwest of the United States and northern Mexico. It is also known as the dollarjoint prickly pear there.

Barbary Fig

The large, 50-centimeter-long prickly pear can grow up to 16 feet (5 meters) tall and wide. It produces enormous yellow to red flowers in the spring and early summer. You may find this cactus also called Indian fig or mission cactus.

Bunny Ears

This native of Mexico will reach a height of around two feet while remaining quite tiny and flourishing in a huge pot. However, a plant can spread five feet when it is in the ground. Golden glochid tufts are evenly placed throughout flat, thin pads. When fresh pads grow, they protrude from the top of older, larger ones and resemble a bunny’s head. Yellow adorns flowers.

O. ficus-indica, the Barbary fig prickly pear, has spread to many regions of the world where it is not native. In fact, it is so widespread that it is unclear where it started naturally, although Mexico is most likely where it did. Take California as an illustration: Mission cactus is another name for the plant that came about since Spanish settlers planted it at all the missions in California. It established itself on early California ranches as well, where it occasionally served as efficient fencing.

The Beavertail Prickly Pear (O. basilaris) and a Pancake Prickly Pear (O. chlorotica) are shown in the Nativescapes Garden at the Safari Park.

Prickly pear cacti are they protected?

The prickly pear cactus is protected by law, just like all other wild plants in Arizona, and its fruit and pads cannot be removed without a permit.

When did the eastern prickly pear cactus go into risk of extinction?

When the Endangered Species Act went into force in 2008, the Eastern Prickly-pear Cactus was already considered to be in danger of extinction.

Do prickly pear cacti spread quickly?

Embedded Features The prickly pear’s extensive, fibrous root structure provides access to surface water, and its succulent stems may hold a lot of water. Prickly pear typically spreads more quickly than grasses during drought years, especially in hot, dry circumstances.

Is it forbidden to trim cacti in Arizona?

Although some of these may seem absurd, they are all regarded as felonies in Arizona. 25 years in prison for chopping down a saguaro cactus

In the event that you want to remove the plant, the department will tag and place a permit on it.

A felony criminal-damage accusation may be brought against you if it is discovered that you cut or removed a saguaro from your property.

Although it goes without saying that it is illegal to possess or produce true cocaine, did you know that producing fake cocaine is also illegal?

If you are discovered manufacturing fake cocaine, there is an outdated legislation that could result in criminal charges.

However, these days, you’re more likely to run into trouble with the hotel staff or the fashion police than with the actual law.

But if you break the law while wearing a red mask, you could be charged with a misdemeanor.

Like the most of the offenses on the list, this one is governed by a mysterious legislation that has managed to endure.

The American government sent camel herds to Texas and Arizona in the late 1800s to aid in the transportation of cargo.

As a result, it is against the law to hunt camels in Arizona, and doing so will result in your arrest.

It’s unlikely that you will see any camels wandering down the road, though.

If you do happen to find yourself hunting a camel, it’s most likely on someone else’s land, which is a very different circumstance.

The majority of these crimes are only actually crimes because the legislation hasn’t been updated, making it extremely improbable that most individuals will even commit any of them.

However, cutting or removing a saguaro happens more more frequently than one might imagine and is still illegal.

Call the Tyler Allen Law Firm right away if you need a reputable criminal defense lawyer in Phoenix.

In Arizona, is it against the law to pick cactus?

According to Ray O’Neil, chief ranger at Saguaro National Park, “cactus digging is prohibited in Arizona without a permit anyplace. Cutting down a cactus, such as Arizona’s famous Saguaro, is a crime that carries a heavy fine and a possible sentence of up to 25 years in jail.

Are prickly pears monogamous?

Both sexual and asexual reproduction are possible in the eastern prickly pear cactus. It produces fruit that contains seeds that are dispersed by small mammals and birds, and its blossoms are typically pollinated by insects. When pads separate from parent plants and establish roots, they are able to reproduce asexually.

Cacti can grow in Canada.

succulent plants belonging to the Cactaceae family, which has 104 genera and about 1600 species overall. Cacti are the most well-liked group of succulents among plant lovers because of their incredible diversity of shapes, spination, growth patterns, flower size, and color.


The areole, a felty, cushion-like structure from which hairs, spines, branches, and flowers emerge, is a distinctive anatomical characteristic that sets this family apart from other plants. The size of cacti ranges from little spheres of a few millimeters in diameter (like the Copiapoa laui from Chile) to huge trees that are more than 20 meters tall and weigh more than 25 t. (eg, Pachycereus weberi from southern Mexico). The shape of the stem can be spherical, cylindrical, creeping, flattened, or shaped like a pad or a leaf (eg, Christmas cactus Schlumbergera truncata).

The majority of species of cacti, although not all, have modified leaves called spines. Cactus spines come in a genuinely amazing variety; they might be long and ferociously pointed, broad and hooked, soft and hairlike, or comblike (up to 15 cm long).

In addition to the obvious purpose of deterring thirsty or hungry herbivores, spines undoubtedly perform a number of other tasks as well. Among these are serving as places of condensation for atmospheric moisture, protecting the plant from UV rays, creating a protected area surrounding the base for the growth of new seedlings, and acting as a thermal blanket.


Since the oldest fragments of known early cacti date back barely 22,000 years, all theories regarding their evolutionary history must be extrapolated from research on the anatomy, distribution, chemistry, and genetics of existing species. The majority of the species in the modern cactus genus Pereskia are highly branching small shrubs or trees with woody, nonsucculent stems and big, thin, drought-deciduous leaves. Cacti are assumed to have descended from an ancestor that resembled these species.

Reduced leaf size, a rise in stem water-storage tissue, and the shift of photosynthesis and stomates (tiny pores on the surface of leaves or stems) from leaves to succulent stems were all factors in the evolution of modern cacti. Cactus stems have a low surface area to volume ratio, which minimizes water loss. Many additional characteristics of cacti also reduce water loss, such as sunken stomates and stem tissues that frequently contain substantial amounts of the water-binding mucilage.


The majority of cacti have a unique sort of photosynthesis compared to other plants, in addition to changing their structure and morphology in reaction to aridity. The majority of leafy plants open their stomates during the day to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, including Pereskias that have leaves. At night, when it is cooler and there is significantly less water loss, cacti open their stomates. The plant accumulates the carbon dioxide required to make sugar throughout the night into organic acids, which are then transformed into sugar during the day. The Crassulacean acid metabolic route is one such photosynthetic pathway (CAM).

Temperature Adaptations

Cacti cannot cool themselves by evaporation in the daylight because their stomates are closed. Therefore, thermal loading is a major issue, and many of the odd forms, spine configurations, and hues that cacti display are hypothesized to contribute to light reflection or heat radiation from the plant to lessen thermal loading, which could lead to deadly temperatures. Some species even develop underground to minimize water loss and avoid overheating.

The majority of cactus species cannot survive freezing temperatures, although a tiny percentage (perhaps between 10 and 20 percent) do, typically in locations with little humidity and below-freezing temperatures.

These species can withstand cold to varied degrees, but it is still unclear exactly how this tolerance works.

All freezing-tolerant species appear to lose water from their stems before exposure to freezing begins, and changes in cellular physiology also take place. For example, abscisic acid levels and sugar concentrations rise during low temperature acclimation, though it is unclear exactly how these factors contribute to the process.


Although some flower more easily than others, all cacti do. From seed, some species grow to flowering size in a few years, whilst others, particularly the huge treelike species, may take decades to do so. Each bloom type on a cactus attracts a different pollinator, including nocturnal bats and moths, bees, beetles, and hummingbirds. Cactus flowers come in a range of sizes, colors, and forms. Although certain species contain unpleasant chemicals that are believed to prevent predation by animals, insects, and possibly bacteria, there are no hazardous species.

Distribution and Habitat

The cactus family is primarily found in the New World; it can be found anywhere from Patagonia in southern Argentina and Chile to the Peace River Lowland in northern British Columbia (Opuntia fragilis) (Maihuenia poeppigii). Three subspecies of the cactus Rhipsalis baccifera are the only ones that naturally occur outside of the Americas (parts of Africa, islands off the southeast coast of Africa and Sri Lanka).

Cacti are able to survive in a wide variety of settings with varied levels of aridity, heat, and cold. Others rely solely on sea fog as their supply of water, while some species have adopted an arboreal style of existence (e.g., Epiphyllum species), living as epiphytes in trees of tropical forests (eg, many cacti of the Atacama Desert, Chile).

Escobaria vivipara, Opuntia fragilis, O. polyacantha, and O. humifusa are only a few of the four cacti species that are indigenous to Canada. These species are all located at the northernmost point of their range.

The pincushion cactus, Escobaria vivipara, is a tiny cactus that can grow up to 8 cm in diameter and 2 to 5 cm in length. It is a globose to cylindrical cactus that, as it ages, offsets to eventually develop huge mounds 30 to 60 cm in diameter with 20 or more stems or more. Plants are coated in thick clusters of 14–24 spines, each measuring up to 1.9 cm long. Flowers with a diameter of around 4 cm and a dark purplish pink color bloom in June. In Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the southwest portion of Manitoba, it can be found all throughout the southern grasslands.

Both the small, barbed glochids and the thin, sharp, persistent spines are present in all Opuntia species. Flowers bloom in May and June, are 4-5 cm in diameter, and are yellow.

The most northerly cactus species, Opuntia fragilis, or small prickly pear, may be found near Fort St. John, British Columbia, at a latitude of about 56 N. It is a low, mat-forming plant that can grow up to 1 m across. Its jointed stem segments have different shapes (spherical, ovoid, cylindrical or distinctly flattened). The weak, easily detachable joints are often armed with strong, viciously barbed spines (up to 4 cm long), however completely spineless varieties still exist. They range in size from 2 to 5 cm long and 1 to 5 cm wide.

From British Columbia (BC) eastward through Whitshell Provincial Park, Manitoba, to a few sites in northwestern Ontario and one site in eastern Ontario, the little prickly pear is widely distributed in Canada (Mellon Creek, 150 km southwest of Ottawa). The Similkameen, Okanagan, and Nicola river basins make up the majority of the species’ range in interior British Columbia. It extends north to Kamloops, Clinton, and the Peace River Lowland, and south to Lytton. Additionally, this species can be found in a few locations on southern Vancouver Island as well as on a number of islands in the Strait of Georgia.

The common plains prickly pear, Opuntia polyacantha, has larger, bluish-green, more pad-shaped joints than Opuntia fragilis (5–10 cm long, 4–10 cm broad, and 1 cm thick). Spines can be as long as 5.5 cm, but their length varies. On the bottom parts of a pad, they are occasionally fewer and shorter. Flowers measure 4.5-8 cm in diameter and are waxy yellow. This species is widespread in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan, and a small, unusual population (perhaps a hybrid) has been found in the vicinity of Ashcroft, British Columbia.

The eastern prickly pear, Opuntia humifusa, is a low, spreading plant with a diameter of up to a meter and big, dark green, rounded to broadly elliptic flattened joints (5–12 cm long, 4-7.5 cm wide, and 1 cm thick), as well as a few long, needle-like spines that are 2-3 cm long. In June, mature pad edges sparsely yield waxy yellow blooms that are 4-6 cm in diameter.

There are just 4 known sites of this species in southern Ontario (eg, Point Pelee National Park). In Ontario, all people live where the Great Lakes moderate the climate (they occur within 25 km of Lake Erie). On sand dunes or raised beach edges, this species thrives in conjunction with dry barrens or juniper savannahs.

The endangered condition of this species was reported in a report submitted to COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) in 1984. The report recommended active management and protection efforts if the species was to persist in Canada. The cactus was formally classified as an endangered plant by COSEWIC in 1985.