Only a few hardy species of opuntia and escobaria are present in almost every US state and southern Canadian province, although they are much more common in the southwest’s arid areas. Cacti are prevalent in six US states, including (roughly) the following: Arizona (83), California (35), New Mexico (56), Nevada (26), Utah (34) and Texas (91).
The Sonoran, Chihuahuan, and Mojave deserts correspond to the lower elevations and southernmost places where the densest populations can be found. The hottest part of the Sonoran Desert in southeast California and southwest Arizona also has a relatively small number of species for the same reason. The best places to see cacti are south and southeast Arizona, south New Mexico, and far west Texas, especially in the Big Bend region. Of these three, the Mojave has somewhat fewer species due to its low rainfall.
The golden cereus, Munz’s cholla, coastal cholla, chaparral prickly pear, and San Diego barrel cactus are just a few of the rare cactus species that grow in California’s far southwest, close to San Diego, and down the coast into Santa Barbara. These can be seen in locations like Torrey Pines State Reserve, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, and Cabrillo National Monument, but the majority of California species are found in the southeasterly deserts, specifically in Mojave, Anza Borrego, Death Valley, and Joshua Tree National Parks. Joshua Tree is particularly fruitful because it is located on the border of the Sonoran and Mojave deserts, and as a result, has plants typical of both.
Arizona has two National Park Service (NPS) locations dedicated to particular cacti: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in the far south, bordering Mexico, and Saguaro National Park on either side of Tucson. With approximately 30 species, some of which are fairly rare (like senita), this latter area is one of the best cactus places in the entire state. Other cactus-filled desert preserves include Kofa NWR, Sonoran Desert National Monument, Cabeza Prieta NWR, Ironwood Forest National Monument, and Agua Fria National Monument. Several small state parks, like Catalina, Sabino Canyon, Lost Dutchman, and Alamo Lake, also provide an excellent introduction to the local flora. The region in the far southeast between Nogales and the Chiricahua Mountains, which is where certain plants from the adjacent Chihuahuan Desert may be seen, as well as some that are significantly more frequent over the border in Mexico, has the most uncommon species, except from Organ Pipe NM. Cacti, however, are abundant throughout the state; for instance, the Canyon De Chelly National Monument is home to 12 different species. A few areas in the north also contain some extremely rare species, such as the pediocactus bradyii in the Marble Canyon region and the sclerocactus sileri on the Kaibab Plateau. Visit a botanical garden, like the Boyce Thompson Arboretum in Superior or the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum west of Tucson, if you want to observe a wide variety of plant species all in one spot.
Around 20 different varieties of cacti can be found in Nevada’s far south, on the edge of the Mojave Desert. These include the hills that border Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, the foothills of Mount Charleston, and Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. The most prominent species are the Engelmann’s hedgehog cactus, California barrel cactus, many headed barrel, five different varieties of cholla, and several opuntia. The Great Basin Desert covers the rest of the state, which has fewer cacti but still contains a few very unusual species (sclerocactus).
The majority of the state of Utah is covered in cacti, including the Colorado Plateau, the Uinta Basin in the northeast, and low-lying areas of the southwest (on the edge of the Mojave Desert). The well-known national parks (Arches, Capital Reef, Zion, and Canyonlands) are each home to more than a dozen species, and Utah contains about six forms of cactus that are unique to the US. However, there is no one optimum spot (sclerocactus and pediocactus species).
Over 50 cactus species can be found in the Chihuahuan Desert, which makes up the southern third of New Mexico. These species can be found in places like Oliver Lee Memorial State Park, the Carlsbad Caverns National Park backcountry, and (in a botanical garden setting) Living Desert State Park in Carlsbad.
With around 100 different cactus species, Texas is the state with the most. The majority are found along the Rio Grande, close to the Mexican border, particularly in the Big Bend region, in Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. In particular, the species of coryphantha, echinomastus, and escobaria are at their northernmost ranges on this terrain. In the far south, in the area of Brownsville, there is another cluster of rare species. Cacti can also be found in the Davis Mountains/Fort Davis, Guadalupe Mountains, and Black Gap WMA in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Where can you find cacti in America?
The most recognizable plants in the Southwest of the United States are cacti, which are most common in the four states that are the furthest south: California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. They are particularly common and plentiful in the Sonoran, Mojave, and Chihuahuan deserts. Some species, including opuntia and echinocereus, are still relatively common further north, but there are also many smaller plants with considerably more restricted ranges, like the sclerocactus and pediocactus species.
These six cactus genera—cereus, cylindropuntia, echinocereus, ferocactus, mammillaria, and opuntia—have the greatest number of species and are therefore the most likely to be found.
Acanthocereus (1), ancistrocactus (2), astrophytum (1), hamatocactus (1), lophophora (1), and neolloydia (1) are the rarest genera (based on the number of US species), followed by a few that are unique to Florida. Less common genera include ariocarpus, coryphantha, echinocactus, echinomastus, epithelantha,
Which state is home to the largest cactus?
The biggest cactus in the country
- Two plants that can be found in the Sonoran Desert are the ocotillo (left) and saguaro (right).
- Arizona’s Saguaro National Park is situated just west of Tucson.
- Growing safely behind a lush paloverde nurse tree is a juvenile saguaro cactus.
- blooming Saguaro cactus.
Cacti only grow in Arizona?
Cactus Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea)
The saguaro cactus, which “the American West, pronounced sah-wah-roh. We constantly encounter images of these cacti as a representation of the American Desert. Without looking closely at one of these well-known desert plants, a vacation to the Sonoran Desert is not complete. Almost everyone who has seen one has been captivated by these enormous green columnar cactuses. Even more significant to the native Tohono O’Odham are the saguaro cacti. The Tohono O’Odham see the huge cacti as revered tribe members rather than as plants. They see them as a distinct kind of humanity.
Although the saguaro cactus has come to represent the American West, it can only be found in the Sonoran desert. The saguaro cactus’s geographic range is constrained to southern Arizona since it is a desert indicator species. From sea level to an elevation of around 4000 feet, saguaro cacti can thrive. The saguaro cactus will limit its growth to the warmer, south-facing slopes the further north and higher in elevation you go. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is home to a large number of saguaro cacti. Impressive “The Ajo Mountain Drive passes through saguaro woods.
The saguaro cactus, which can grow up to 40 feet tall, is the biggest cactus in the country. Over 78 feet high, the tallest saguaro cactus ever measured stood. All of the saguaro cactus’ growth takes place at the tip, or top, of the cactus, which grows like a column at a very slow rate. A saguaro cactus may take ten years to grow just an inch tall. A saguaro cactus can grow to a height of 6 and a half feet and begin to bear flowers at the age of 70. A saguaro cactus can grow to a height of 15 to 16 feet and begin to sprout its first arm by the time it is 95 to 100 years old. The saguaro cactus reaches its maximum height of up to 45 feet tall when it is 200 years old. While some saguaros develop dozens of arms, other cacti never produce even one. One of the unsolved mysteries of the desert is why this occurs.
The saguaro cactus is an expert at surviving in the desert. This plant was created from the ground up to survive in the sometimes hostile Sonoran Desert. The saguaro cactus’ epidermis is covered in a thick layer of waxy material that prevents water loss through transpiration and waterproofs the plant. To protect the water that is kept inside, the cactus has bristles that are both flexible and have sharp spines.
A saguaro cactus has an equally remarkable root system. The cactus will grow a sizable, solitary taproot that will extend straight down into the ground for around five feet. The cactus can get water that is kept underground thanks to this taproot. The saguaro cactus’ primary roots differ greatly from other cacti. A huge network of roots that resemble a maze is sent out by the cactus quite near to the surface. These roots are typically 3 inches or less below the surface, allowing the cactus to easily catch any rain that may fall.
Instantaneously, very little water is used. Instead, the majority of the water collected is eventually stored within the cactus for use during dry spells. A tissue that resembles a sponge fills the interior of the cactus and serves as a reservoir for the water. The cactus’ skin starts to grow as more water is stored, providing additional space for storage. When a result, as more and more water is stored, the saguaro cactus can get rather hefty. A Saguaro cactus foot can weigh up to 90 pounds when fully grown, and a whole Saguaro can weigh over a ton.
The saguaro cactus blooms from late spring to early summer. The flowering typically takes place between April and June. The milky-white blossoms give forth a sweet nectar that draws a variety of bat species. These bats consume flower nectar while also helping to pollinate the saguaro cactus. The bats will begin to devour the cactus fruit when it begins to produce fruit, which will help disperse saguaro seeds over the desert.
Which city is home to the most cacti?
In Tucson, Arizona, you may find the biggest cacti in the country. The enormous saguaro cactus is the common representation of the American West. Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the contemporary city of Tucson, provides protection for these magnificent plants, which are only present in a limited section of the United States. Here, you can see these giant cacti that are beautifully silhouetted by a stunning desert sunset.
Does Texas have cacti?
The largest variety of cacti species can be found in Texas, which has over 100 different types. Many are better known by their less scientific names, such as blind pear, cow-tongue cactus, night-blooming cereus, Texas rainbow, tree cactus, early bloomer, and devil’s head, which they were given because their hard spines are harmful to the horses’ and cattle’s hooves. More names for many other species include strawberry cactus, pincushion, and jumping jack. In Texas, cacti are used as food, as landscaping, and in both public and private botanical collections. Prickly pear pads, or nopalitos, with their spines burned off, create a substantial fodder for cattle and form a minor mainstay in Tex-Mex cuisine. The tunas, or seed pods, are used in salads, wines, and jam. Other cacti are used to produce pharmaceuticals, confectionery, and food coloring. Cacti are helpful in gardens and as shrubs due to their climate adaptability and simplicity of cultivation; also, their distinctive forms and multicolored flowers, which range in shade from green and white to magenta and purple, draw a lot of collectors. The smallest cacti are called button cacti and are about the size of a dime. The largest cacti are called barrel or fishhook cacti and can weigh up to half a ton or more.
Ten genera are represented by the cactus in Texas:
Echinocereus genus. Echino-, which means “spiny,” alludes to this genus’ extremely prickly exterior, and cereus, which means “wax candle,” to the regal aspect of its erect members. Oval, conical, or cylindrical cacti, echinocerei always have ribbed stems. The blossoms are typically big and stunning, although others have tiny, unnoticeable greenish flowers. The fruits are always juicy, have thin skin, and are frequently edible. They also have spines, however as the fruits ripen, the spines get looser and can be easily brushed off. The Echinocerei thrive mostly in exposed areas on barren hills and slopes that receive the full force of the southwest sun.
Family Wilcoxia. This genus typically has five species, four of which are found in Mexico and one in South Texas. The cactus have thin stems that are hardly more than five-eighths of an inch in diameter. The spines are only a quarter inch length or less. The flower is diurnal, huge, and gorgeous. It has a bell- or funnel-shaped bloom. The ovary surface is woolly, scaly, and coated in spines that resemble bristles or hairs that stay on the fruits.
Peniocereus genus. The “thread cereus” cacti all have thin stems and a massive, meaty taproot from which stems that are initially ribbed but eventually circular grow. They all have nocturnal, fragrant flowers that are formed from within the spine areole, as well as very small stem spines and hard fruit spines.
Acanthocereus genus. The “acanthus candle” genus contains roughly a dozen species. These are erect, more or less shrubby plants that rely on other plants for support because they can’t bear their own weight for very long. Supported stems can reach heights of twenty feet. All stems range in diameter from one to four inches, and mature stems contain three to seven noticeable ribs. The ovary is typically spiky, and the flowers are big, white, and bloom at night. The semiarid coastal plains appear to be the greatest habitat for these tropical lowland cactus, which are never far from the coast. Compared to most cactus, they can withstand a lot more wetness, and when water is plentiful, they grow quite quickly. Although the roots may regenerate, a light frost will kill the tips of the stems, and a temperature of 32 F will kill the entire plant above the ground. The Acanthocerei live in peril in the coasts of South Texas and Florida in the United States.
Echinocactus species. The majority of the barrel cacti, or members of this genus, have numerous, sharp, hard spines. Some members of the genus are spineless, while others have more slender and flexible spines. The barrels come in various sizes, from large ones weighing several hundred pounds to little ones barely a few inches tall. There are eight to twenty vertical or spiraling ribs on the outside. There is no identifiable floral tube in the flowers, which are produced at or near the top of the plant. The ovary has scales and occasionally wool but no spines.
the Lophophora genus. The “crest-bearers,” or small, globose or depressed globose cactus, that make up this genus grow from rather large, carrot-shaped taproots. The stem is around three inches in diameter and is just two inches tall. Large clusters of stems can be solitary or branch out from the base. Surfaces are often glaucous and blue-green. After the early seedling stage, the plants are spineless. Flat and wide ribs are present. The blooms are small, bell-shaped, and come in a variety of colors. The areoles are small and spherical with long white to yellowish wool that frequently persists. The ovary and fruit of this genus are both completely bare, however the fruit is invariably meaty. They have ribbed stems. Instead of the axils, monomorphic areoles create the blooms at the tip of developing tubercles. This genus contains peyote.
Ariocarpus species. One species of this minor genus exists in Texas, and the others are found in Mexico. One or occasionally several low, flattened stems, measuring two inches in diameter to ten inches in width, make up the plant’s body. The larger species can grow to a height of five inches, whilst the lesser species may not extend over the ground’s surface. A sizable taproot that like a carrot is on top of the stem. Very distinct, typically imbricated but noncoalescent tubercles are divided up on the stem’s surface. After the initial seedling growth, there are no spines. The fact that this genus blooms in the fall makes it unique. Flowers are diurnal, wide-opening, white, yellowish, or purplish in color. Both the ovary and the fruit are bare. When the fruit reaches maturity, it turns dry and crumbles, leaving the seeds inside the plant’s center’s wool. The fruit is initially juicy.
Epithelantha species. There are several species of this genus that are found in Mexico, but only one of them is found in the United States. The entire stem is covered with countless, incredibly small tubercles, which are reportedly the smallest tubercles of any American cactus. There are many small spines that almost completely obscure these from view. The longer, converging points of the longer spines obscure the growing tip of the stem, which is a prominent depression filled with a lot of wool that resembles hair, making it difficult to see how the tubercles, areoles, and flowers develop. The fact that this cactus develops its flowers at the top of the tubercle rather than in the axil of the tubercle is another peculiar feature of it. Contrary to what was previously thought, this cactus does not create its flower inside a monomorphic spine areole. The meristem is split into a distinct, indeterminate floral or vegetative meristem and a determinate spiny part before the bloom is developed.
Mammillaria species. Small or extremely small creatures make up this genus. Different species’ stems can be depressed and nearly flat, globular, or even occasionally columnar, and are frequently referred to as heads. One of them occasionally becomes a significant cluster of heads, whereas in many other species they multiply from the base to become caespitose. In certain species, these stay singular. Occasionally, branches from higher up the stem may sprout in a few species. A system of tubercles, which resemble nipple-like projections, completely covers each stem. These are typically arranged in spiral rows, however occasionally they are not as tightly structured. The bases of the tubercles are occasionally more or less quadrangular, however they are often cylindrical or conical.
Opuntia species. The common consensus is that this enormous genus is more primitive than the others. Opuntias are the only cactus found in more than half of the states in the United States, supporting the assertion that cacti are present practically everywhere in the country. Jointed stems, cylindrical or conical leaves on young stems, glochidia (barbed hairs or spines), the production of spreading, rotated flowers with more or less sensitive stamens and with aeroles that frequently produce glochidia and spines on the ovaries, as well as the presence of these traits, are characteristics. The rinds of the fruits are thick.