Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Chihuahuan Desert and to a lesser extent the Edwards Plateau and the Rio Grande Plain. Texas from Presidio Co. to Taylor and Uvalde Cos. and in Bee Co.

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Range Description

The species occurs in Coahuila, Mexico and in Texas, USA (Hunt et al. 2006), at elevations of 450 to 600 m (Benson 1980). The Nature Serve reported from Chihuahuan Desert and to a lesser extent the Edwards Plateau and the Rio Grande Plain. Texas from Presidio Co. to Taylor and Uvalde Cos. and in Bee Co. It has an aproximate range extent of <100-250 square km (less than about 40 to 100 square miles)
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Tex.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Shrubs, erect to sprawling, 0.5-1 m. Stem segments not easily detached, green, flattened, obovate to circular, 10-15 × 7.5-12 cm, nearly smooth, glabrous; areoles 5-7 per diagonal row across midstem segment, ovate or oblong to obovate, 3-5 mm; wool tan. Spines 4-7 per areole, mostly in distal areoles, black to red-brown with conspicuous brown to yellow tips, fading gray; longer spines ascending, usually straight, acicular, terete, 25-35 mm; 1-2 smaller spines deflexed, chalky white, to 10 mm; 0-4 additional very small spines. Glochids in bushy crescent at adaxial edge of areole and dense subapical tuft, yellow to brown, aging blackish, of unequal lengths, to 5 mm. Flowers: inner tepals yellow throughout, quickly fading to apricot, 25-30 mm; filaments and anthers yellow; style whitish; stigma lobes greenish yellow to yellow. Fruits red-purple, green-yellow interior, spheric-obovoid to pyriform, 15-20 × 12 mm, fleshy, glabrous, spineless; areoles 20-25. Seeds tan to gray, subcircular, 3-4 mm diam; girdle narrowly protruding. 2n = 22.
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Type Information

Holotype for Opuntia atrispina Griffiths
Catalog Number: US 2576306A
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): D. Griffiths
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Texas, United States, North America
  • Holotype: Griffiths, D. 1910. Annual Rep. Missouri Bot. Gard. 21: 172.
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Isotype for Opuntia atrispina Griffiths
Catalog Number: US 2576305A
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
Verification Degree: Original publication and alleged type specimen examined
Preparation: Pressed specimen
Collector(s): D. Griffiths
Year Collected: 1908
Locality: Texas, United States, North America
  • Isotype: Griffiths, D. 1910. Annual Rep. Missouri Bot. Gard. 21: 172.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Limestone soils of hills and alluvial fans in desert or grassland at 450-600 m.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species grows in grasslands and xerophyllous scrub in limestone soils of hills and alluvial fans in desert or grassland at 450-600 m..

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Grasslands, shrublands, limestone hills; 400-700m.
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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Flowering/Fruiting

Flowering spring.
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure

Reasons: SRANK of S4 from Texas (94-02-01).

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Terry, M. & Heil, K.

Reviewer/s
Goettsch, B.K.

Contributor/s

Justification

Even though the species has a narrow range, its successful sexual and vegetative reproductive strategies help keep stable populations. There are no major threats known either, hence is listed as Least Concern.

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Population

Population
The species is extremely rare in the Big Bend National Park, more common to the east in the Terrell and Valverde Counties, it has been found a few times in the Chisos foothills (Wauer and Flemming 2002).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Comments: Most cacti subject to horticultural collecting.

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Major Threats
There are no major threats for this species.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
The species occurs within Amistad National Recreation Area (Worthington 2002).
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Notes

Comments

Opuntia atrispina has been reported from Coahuila, Mexico (H. Bravo-H. and H. Sánchez-M. 1978-1991, vol. 1), but has not been confirmed by the author.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Distinct species.

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