The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
Red Butte Garden and Arboretum
The conservation of Pediocactus despainii is fully sponsored.
Rita Dodge contributed to this Plant Profile.
This is the most recently described species in this genus after only being discovered in 1978 by graduate student Kim Despain. It is no surprise that this species was overlooked for so long; it is easy to miss due to its small stature and peculiar habit of receding underground for several months a year during dry or cold seasons. It is only noticeably visible for a short time in spring when it flowers. The San Rafael Swell region, where this cactus resides, is the most floristically diverse community in Utah and is host to 50% of Utahs rare/endemic species (120 species). This cactus is considered endangered by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and listed in Appendix I of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). This designation protects P. despainii from being traded internationally for commercial purposes (USFWS 2008).
This small solitary barrel-type cactus is subglobose ovoid in shape and sends out a yello bronze to peach colored blossom between April and May, depending on moisture and temperature.
Distribution & Occurrence
This cactus occurs in the Great Basin Grassland in habitat characterized by scattered junipers, pinyon pines, low shrubs, and annual and perennial herbs. It grows on the calcium rich, fine textured soils derived from the Carmel Formation and the Sinbar Member of the Moenkopi Formation. It occurs on benches, hill-tops and gentle slopes between 1450 2800 meters.
|Three small populations totaling ~20,000 individuals (USFWS 1995).|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Conduct population viability studies
Determine the biological factors controlling species distribution and abundance
Control activities, such as mining, which affect these populations and their habitat
Develop successful propagation techniques
Prevent illegal collecting by promoting commercial trade of legal specimens.
Develop propagation protocol in greenhouse from collected seed
Learn how to achieve successful pollination and seed production in the greenhouse
Evaluate the phylogenic relationshipd between P. despainii and P. winkleri and cogeneric species
Anderson, E.F. 2001. The Cactus Family. Portland, OR: Timber Press.
Welsh, S.; Atwood, N.D.; Goodrich, S.; Higgins, C. 2003. A Utah Flora. Provo, UT: Brigham Young University.