Overview

Distribution

Range Description

This species is reported in Mexico from the states of Baja California, Baja California Sur and Sonora. The species occurs in the Unites States in Arizona, California, and Nevada. The species occurs at elevations from 300 to 900 m (Benson 1982, Paredes et al. 2000). Records from New Mexico (Hunt et al. 2006) are not confirmed.
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National Distribution

Mexico

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

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Global Range: Range includes California in San Diego Co., Arizona from Mohave Co. to to S. Yavapai, and S. Gila Cos. and S. to Yuma and Pima Cos. In Sonora, Mexico.

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Varieties 2 (1 in the flora): sw United States, nw Mexico.
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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Opuntia bigelovii Engelmann, Proc. Amer. Acad. Arts 3: 307. 1856
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Cylindropuntia bigelovii grows on rocky slopes in the Sonoran desert scrub (Paredes et al. 2000). The species also grows on sand dunes along the beach in coastal Atriplex dominated scrub, and further inland on flats and on rocky slopes (mostly volcanic rock) in desert scrub.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Comments: Gravelly soils of hillsides and alluvial fans in the desert. Rocky grounds of mountain slopes.

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 21 - 80

Comments: Fifty-three EO's (Benson 1982).

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General Ecology

The first flowering date for this species has been observed shifting towards the beginning of the year correlated with warming spring temperatures.

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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Terminal joints have abundant spines and break off easily when brushed by an animal. These segments readily take root (Bobich & Nobel 2001).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
Pinkava, D.J., Puente, R. & Baker, M.

Reviewer/s
Goettsch, B. & Schipper, J.

Contributor/s

Justification
This is a very widespread and extremely common species with no major threats. Hence, it is listed as Least Concern.
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National NatureServe Conservation Status

Mexico

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Known throughout southern California, Arizona and Mexico.

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Population

Population
This species is very abundant species and occurs in dense, and probably clonal, stands.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no threats to this common species. It is more likely to be treated as a pest plant in some places.
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Comments: Most cacti subject to horticultural collecting.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Cylindropuntia bigelovii occurs in many protected areas including the Pinacante Biosphere Reserve in Mexico and all the Monuments within its range including the Organ Pipe National Monument.
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Wikipedia

Cylindropuntia bigelovii


Cylindropuntia bigelovii, the teddy-bear cholla, is a cholla cactus species native to California, Arizona, and Nevada (USA) and Northwestern Mexico.

Description[edit]

Cylindropuntia bigelovii has a soft appearance due to its solid mass of very formidable spines that completely cover the stems, leading to its sardonic nickname of "teddy bear".

The teddy-bear cholla is an erect plant, standing 1 to 5 ft (0.30 to 1.52 m) tall with a distinct trunk. The branches are at the top of the trunk and are nearly horizontal. Lower branches typically fall off, and the trunk darkens with age. The silvery-white spines, which are actually a form of leaf, almost completely obscure the stem with a fuzzy-looking, but impenetrable, defense. The spines are 1 in (2.5 cm) long and are covered with a detachable, paper-like sheath.

The yellow-green flowers of this cactus emerge at the tips of the stems in May and June, and the fruits that follow usually have no viable seed. Flowers are usually 1.375 in (3.49 cm) in length. The fruit is 0.75 in (1.9 cm) in diameter, tuberculate, and may or may not have spines. These cacti produce few seeds, as the plant usually reproduces from dropped stems. These stems are often carried for some distance by sticking to the hair of animals. Often small "forests" of these chollas form that are largely clones of one individual.

Like its cousin the jumping cholla, the stems of this cactus detach easily and the ground around a mature plant is often littered with scattered cholla balls and small plants starting where these balls have rooted. When a piece of this cholla sticks to an unsuspecting person, a good method to remove the cactus is with a hair comb. The spines are barbed, and hold on tightly. Desert pack rats such as the Desert Woodrat gather these balls around their burrows, creating a defense against predators.

The teddy-bear cholla is extremely combustible.

Distribution[edit]

Cylindropuntia bigelovii, the Teddy-bear cholla, grow in desert regions at elevations from 100 to 300 ft (30 to 91 m) in the "Low Desert" or Colorado Desert of Southern California, and other Sonoran Desert regions of the Southwestern United States and northwestern México.

In the Lower Colorado River Valley, the most dense Cylindropuntia bigelovii forests are at higher elevations, in the rockiest sites. There are fewer Sonoran Desert or Colorado Desert plant association species, however two are common though reduced in size: Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens) and Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea).

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

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