WILDFLOWERS OF NEW MEXICO

 

Single, cylindrical to oval stems, typically mature at 4 3/4-inches tall (12 cm) and 4-inches wide (10 cm) have 11–15 ribs with well developed tubercles or nipples. Note the showy purple 1–inch wide flowers, and the lower central spine that forms a fishhook. The NM RARE PLANTS website states: “Identification of species within the genus Sclerocactus has caused a great deal of confusion, and most species are confusingly alike.”  (The photos here were taken from a population in southern Sandoval Co., NM.)


FLOWERS: April–June. 1–6 flowers from apex; flowers 1–1 1/2-inches long (2.5–4 cm), 1-inch wide (2.5 cm), with numerous purple petal-like tepals; filaments white to pink, anthers yellow; fruit green to tan, slender and 5/16–1-inch long (8–25 mm).


SPINES: Each areole has: 8 (6–9) central spines (from center of dome of areole), 1 1/8–1 3/4-inches long (3–4.6 cm), the lower spine is hooked; 5–8 lateral spines shorter, not hooked; 4 (2–6) radial spines (from bottom edge of the areole) to 3/4–1-inch long (2–2.5 cm).


HABITAT: Cobble-covered, sandy-silt, rocky soils; desert grasslands and scrub, pinyon-juniper, ponderosa woodlands.


ELEVATION: 5,000–7,200 feet.


RANGE: CO, NM.


SIMILAR SPECIES: The listed subspecies brackii in San Juan Co., NM, has a smaller stem with 4 central spines, but after recent DNA analysis, it is no longer considered a subspecies. Small-flower Fishhook Cactus, S. parviflorus, in the nw quarter of NM west of Farmington and Chaco Canyon (from Bob Sivinski), has 1–2 inch wide flowers and mostly 4 (not 8) central spines and 3–17 radial spines  (though counting spines is often unreliable when identifying these  similar species). According to the NM RARE PLANTS website, the ranges of S. cloverae and S. parviflorus do not overlap. Eagle Claw Fishhook Cactus, Glandulicactus uncinatus, has brown flowers and both central and radial spines are hooked.


NM COUNTIES: Mid-elevation arid habitats in central, northern NM east of Farmington and Chaco Canyon: Rio Arriba, San Juan, Sandoval.

CLOVER’S  FISHHOOK  CACTUS

SCLEROCACTUS  CLOVERAE  SUBSP.  CLOVERAE

Cactus Family, Cactaceae

Perennial cactus

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The lower central spine of the areole is hooked

All photos from southern Sandoval Co, NM.

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