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Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Cactus Around Las Vegas, Vegetation Around Las Vegas
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Mountain Ball Cactus

General: Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii) is a round cactus that grows to about 6-inches tall by 6-inches wide. The stem is covered with long tubercles, central tubercles hairy, each tubercle covered with straight spines. Radial spines 15-35, white, held flat against the body. Central spines 1-11, base white to yellow, tips red, held away from the body.

This species can retract under the soil where it can hide from the brutal heat of summer. In spring, the stem swells and the plant emerges to produce many-petaled, pale flowers. Tepals white to pink to orange. Flowers 1-in long and 2-in wide. Fruit short, cylindrical, flat topped with a cap.

Without flowers, this species can be hard to separate from Spinystar Cactus, but notice that central spines standing out and the different fruit.

Mountain Ball Cactus is a small and inconspicuous, but interesting member of Great Basin and mountain vegetation communities. Look for this species in northern Nevada, north to Montana and east to New Mexico.

Also called Simpson Hedgehog Cactus.

Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Central spines 1-11, base white to yellow, tips red
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
15-35 radial spines, white
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Central spines stand out from the body
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Cactus round
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Plant emerging from below the loose stones
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Many radial spines, few short central spines
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Tubercles hairy
Mountain Ball Cactus (Pediocactus simpsonii)
Radial spines splayed outward, central spines pointed out

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate. Names generally follow the USDA database.
copyright; Last updated 170904

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