Consolea corallicola

Common Names:
Florida semaphore cactus, semaphore cactus
Growth Habit:
CPC Number:
Profile Contributors:
Jennifer Possley
Fully Sponsored

Reference Links

ITIS - Tropicos - USDA Plants - Fish & WildLife

Participating Institutions

The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

The conservation of Consolea corallicola is fully sponsored.
Jennifer Possley contributed to this Plant Profile.


Opuntia corallicola is a prickly pear cactus endemic to the Florida Keys. Plants can grow to a tree-like form, with a trunk differentiated from the branching upper cladodes (Britton and Rose 1920, Small 1930) (the common name, "semaphore cactus," refers to the species' resemblance to the posts used to signal railroad trains). Opuntia corallicola may very well be the most endangered plant in the United States. There exists only one population of eight genetically distinct individuals and several hundred small clones (from fallen pads), located in the Florida Keys. To make matters worse, the recent arrival of an exotic insect pest, the cactus moth, is greatly threatening the health of the remaining individuals (Bradley and Gann 1999). The population has survived as well as it has through careful management by The Nature Conservancy, and through the help of volunteers who check the cacti for cactus moth larvae each week.

Distribution & Occurrence


Conservation, Ecology & Research