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Cotton-top Cactus

Echinocactus polycephalus

Photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed in the Colorado Desert portion of Joshua Tree National Monument, California. May 2010.

SPINES: Each areole has about twelve curved spines which may be red, yellow or pale in color; the central spines are longer than the radial spines.

FLOWERS: Yellow flowers in spring are not so large and are partiallly obscured by the spines. The petals may have traces of red or pink as well.

STEM: Occuring in clumps of usually many stems less than a meter tall and about 15 cm in diameter.

FRUIT: The mature fruit is dry and covered with dense, white hairs that look like balls of cotton.

RANGE: Far western Arizona where the Sonoran Desert gives way to the Mojave Desert of California and Nevada.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 4 April 2012