Wolf's Cholla [Opuntia wolfii (Benson) Baker]

Wolf's Cholla [Opuntia wolfii (Benson) Baker]

Listing CNPS List 4 R-E-D Code 1-1-3

State/Federal. Status -- None CACTACEAE Apr.-May

Global Rank G? State Rank S2S3

Distribution: San Diego County, Imperial County; Baja California, Mexico

Habitat: This large cactus grows in Sonoran Desert Scrub, usually on alluvial fans or rocky slopes in open terrain.

Known Sites: This cacti is reported from San Felipe Valley, Vallecito Canyon, Jacumba, and Sentenac Canyon. It is reported by Benson from Mountain Springs Grade in Imperial County. Large, robust chollas with fat, stubby joints that look like this entity occur at a variety of locales in the Anza Borrego Desert such as near Borrego Springs and to the south along Highway S-2.

Status: Historically this species was included within Opuntia echinocarpa collections, and was not described until 1969 as a distinctive variety of that species, with larger joints. In the 1993 Jepson Manual it is treated as a distinct species. The limited number of collections may not indicate its true distribution, nor how common it may be locally. Chollas are both difficult to collect and to mount, and are generally undercollected. Provisionally, substantial portions of all sizeable populations are recommended for protection. More information is needed. Given the limited development within its desert habitat, Wolf's Cholla is presumed stable.


Copyright May 1994 Craig H. Reiser.

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