The Cactus Patch
THE NEWSLETTER OF THE BAKERSFIELD CACTUS & SUCCULENT SOCIETY
Volume 5       February 2002      Number 2

The Confusing Names of California Cacti
by L. Maynard Moe
Photos by Stephen Cooley

Learning the names of the even the common cacti can be quite confusing and difficult because there are so many species (about 1800, depending on the authority) and there are no agreed upon common or Latin names. The variation within and between populations, and between species is complicated due to the history of cactus collecting and cultivation. Even (and maybe especially) the experts do not agree on the Latin names for the cacti species. Often, one type of cactus may have several names (both common and Latin) or one name has been applied to several different kinds. For example, Ferocactus (the barrel cactus) has had about 1000 names applied just to it!

The following is a list of cactus species currently known to grow wild in California. The first name is the one used in Hickman, The Jepson Manual (1993), the most recent manual of the flora of California. The second name is the one used in Munz (1968), A California Flora, the primary manual for the flora of California prior to the publication of The Jepson Manual. Finally, the last name is the one used by Anderson (2001), The Cactus Family, the most recent definitive work on the family. Some of the species have a single common name, some have no generally accepted common name, and others have several common names. The generally accepted common names are in all upper case letters.

Bergerocactus emoryi (Engelm.) Britton & Rose ..... GOLDEN CEREUS
Coastal Chaparral, San Diego Co., s. Channel Isl.
= Cereus emoryi in Munz
= Bergerocactus emoryi in Anderson

Carnegia gigantea (Engelm.) Britton & Rose ..... SAGUARO
Whipple Mtns. e Imperial Co.
= Cereus giganteus in Munz
= Carnegia gigantea in Anderson

Echinocactus polycephalus Engelm. & Bigelow var. polycephalus ..... CLUSTERED BARREL, COTTON TOP
e. Kern Co., San Bernardino Co, Inyo Co.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Echinocereus engelmannii (Engelm.) Lemaire ..... HEDGEHOG
Inyo to Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Echinocereus triglochidiatus Engelm. ..... CLARET CUP
San Bernardino to Inyo Cos.
= Echinocereus mojavensis in Munz
= Echinocereus triglochidiatus in Anderson
[Note: Echinocereus mojavensis is a distinct species in Anderson. ..... MOJAVE HEDGEHOG]

Escobaria vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb. var. alversonii (Coulter) Hunt ..... FOXTAIL CACTUS
San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.
= Mammillaria alversonii in Munz
= Escobaria alversonii (Coulter) Taylor in Anderson

E. v. var. deserti (Engelm.) Hunt ..... FOXTAIL CACTUS
e. San Bernardino Co.
= Mammillaria deserti in Munz
= Escobaria deserti in Anderson

E. v. var. rosea (Clokey) Hunt
ne. San Bernardino Co.
= not recognized in Munz
= E. vivipara (Nutt.) Buxb. in Anderson. BEEHIVE CACTUS

Ferocactus cylindraceus (Engelm.) Orc. var. cylindraceus ..... BARREL CACTUS
San Bernardino & Riverside Cos.
= Echinocactus acanthodes in Munz
= Ferocactus cylindraceus ssp. cylindraceus in Anderson

F. c. var. lecontei (Engelm.) Brav.-Holl.
e. San Bernardino & Imperial Cos.
= Echinocactus acanthodes in Munz
= Ferocactus cylindraceus ssp. lecontei in Anderson

Ferocactus viridescens (Torrey & Gray) B.&R. ..... COAST BARREL
coastal s. CA
= Echinocactus viridescens in Munz
= Ferocactus viridescens in Anderson

Mammillaria dioica Brandegee ..... CALIFORNIA FISHHOOK
San Diego - San Bernardino - Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Mammillaria milleri (Britton & Rose) Boed. ..... ARIZONA FISHHOOK
se San Bernardino Co.
= Mammillaria microcarpa in Munz
= Mammillaria grayhamii in Anderson

Mammillaria tetrancistra Engelm. ..... CALIFORNIA PINCUSHION
San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Opuntia acanthocarpa Engelm. & Bigelow var. coloradensis Benson ..... BUCKHORN CHOLLA
San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa var. coloradensis in Anderson

Opuntia basilaris Engelm. & Bigelow var. basilaris ..... BEAVERTAIL
"all over" southern CA
= same in Munz and Anderson

O. b. var. brachyclada (Griffiths) Munz ..... SHORT-JOINT BEAVERTAIL
San Gabriel & San Bernardino Mtns.
= same in Munz and Anderson

O. b. var. treleasei (Coulter) Toum. ..... BAKERSFIELD CACTUS
San Joaquin Valley, Kern Co.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Opuntia bigelovii Engelm. ..... TEDDY-BEAR CHOLLA, JUMPING CHOLLA
San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia bigelovii in Anderson

Opuntia chlorotica Engelm. & Bigelow ..... PANCAKE PRICKLY-PEAR
NY Mtns., e. San Bernardino Co.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Opuntia echinocarpa Engelm. & Bigelow ..... SILVER/GOLDEN CHOLLA
e. Mono to Kern Cos, San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.
= Cylindropuntia echinocarpa in Anderson

Opuntia engelmannii Engelm. var. engelmannii ..... ENGELMAN PRICKLY-PEAR
San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.

Opuntia erinacea Engelm. & Bigelow var. erinacea (includes var. ursina) ..... MOJAVE & OLD MAN, PRICKLY-PEAR, GRIZZLY BEAR
Mono to Inyo to San Bernardino Cos.
= same in Munz
= Opuntia polyacantha var. erinacea in Anderson

O. e. var. utahensis (Engelm.) Benson
Mono - Inyo Cos.
= Opuntia erinacea var. xanthostemma in Munz
= Opuntia polyacantha var. polyacantha in Anderson

Opuntia ficus-indica (L.) Miller ..... INDIAN FIG
cultivated, rarely adventive
= same in Munz and Anderson

Opuntia Xfosbergii Wolf ..... PINK TEDDY-BEAR CHOLLA
e. San Diego Co.
natural hybrid O. bigelovii X O. echinocarpa
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia Xfosbergii in Anderson

Opuntia fragilis (Nutt.) Haw ...... BRITTLE PRICKLY PEAR
Siskiyou to Modoc Cos.
= same in Munz and Anderson

Opuntia littoralis (Engelm.) Cockerell ..... COAST PRICKLY PEAR
Santa Barbara Co. and Islands
= Opuntia occidentalis var. littoralis in Munz
= Opuntia littoralis in Anderson

Opuntia Xmunzii Wolf ..... MUNZ's CHOLLA
Imperial Co.
natural hybrid? O. bigelovii X O. acanthocarpa
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia munzii in Anderson

Opuntia Xoccidentalis Engelm. & Bigelow ..... PRICKLY PEAR
s. Coastal Scrub
natural hybrid? O. engelmannii X O. phaeacantha
= Opuntia occidentalis in Munz
= Opuntia Xoccidentalis in Anderson

Opuntia oricola Philbr. ..... CHAPARRAL PRICKLY PEAR
s. Coastal Scrub
= not in Munz
= Opuntia oricola in Anderson

Opuntia parishii Orcutt ..... CLUB/MAT/DEVIL'S CHOLLA
San Bernardino to Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz
= Grusonia parishii in Anderson

Opuntia parryi Engelm. ..... CANE/SNAKE CHOLLA
Santa Barbara County south and east
= Opuntia echinocarpa var. parkeri in Munz
= Cylindropuntia californica var. parkeri in Anderson

Opuntia phaeacantha
Engelm. ..... BROWN-SPINE CACTUS
e. San Bernardino Co.
= Opuntia mojavensis in Munz
= Opuntia phaeacantha in Anderson

Opuntia prolifera Engelm. ..... COAST CHOLLA
Ventura Co. south
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia prolifera in Anderson

Opuntia pulchella Engelm. ..... SAND CHOLLA, DWARF CHOLLA
Inyo & Mono Cos.
= same in Munz
= Grusonia pulchella in Anderson

Opuntia ramosissima Engelm. ..... PENCIL, DIAMOND CHOLLA
e. Kern to San Bernardino to Inyo Cos.
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia ramosissima in Anderson

Opuntia Xvaseyi (Coulter) Britton & Rose ..... APRICOT PRICKLY-PEAR
s. CA Mtns.
natural hybrid O. littoralis X O. phaeacantha
= Opuntia occidentalis var. vaseyi in Munz
= Opuntia Xvaseyi in Anderson

Opuntia wolfii (Benson) Baker ..... WOLF'S CHOLLA
Riverside to Imperial Cos.
= same in Munz
= Cylindropuntia wolfii in Anderson


If you have any comments or questions or would like to
submit a photograph or article, contact

thecactuspatch@aol.com

Material in The Cactus Patch may be reprinted by non-profit organizations (unless such permission is expressly denied in a note accompanying the material) provided that the proper credit is given to the BCSS & the author and that one copy of the publication containing the reprinted material is sent to the editor. Reproduction in whole or part by any other organization without the permission of the BCSS editor is prohibited.

HOME PAGE               ARTICLES