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Beavertail Cactus

Opuntia basilaris

Beavertail Cactus, Opuntia basilaris, photo © by Michael Plagens

This Beavertail Cactus, Oputia basilaris, was photographed in the Plomosa Mountains northeast of Quartzite, La Paz Co., Arizona, USA. 01 March 2009.

FLOWERS: Spectacular blooms of numerous, vivid pink or magenta, petals. The stamens are supported on very red filaments. Blooming in spring in some of the harshest corners of the Sonoran Desert.

JOINTS: The flattened stem joints are oblong in outline and less than 20 cm long.

SPINES: The spines are short or absent in most Arizona specimens. On the other hand, each areole is beset with 1000's of minute glochids that are extremely sharp and painfull.

SUCCULENT: Low growing prickly pear with pads rarely reaching more than ½ meter tall. Normally all branching is at or just above ground level.

RANGE: Found mostly in the northwestern fringes of the Sonoran Desert, i.e. La Paz and Mojave Counties, Arizona and hence into the Mojave Desert of California.

FRUIT: At maturity the fruit is dry and reddish green.

Cactaceae -- Cactus Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-07