National Collection Spotlight: Colorado Hookless Cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus)
The Colorado hookless cactus (Sclerocactus glaucus) can be difficult to find in the river alluvium habitat it calls home in western Colorado and eastern Utah; the perennial stem can be inconspicuous in the coarse gravel – and even shrink below the ground during large stretches of the year – making these plants difficult to spot and identify when not in bloom. Fortunately, this federally threatened cactus produces striking pink flowers which bloom from April to May.
Nearly all populations are threatened with habitat destruction or modification from energy extraction developments, water storage projects, transportation, and residential facilities. Other ongoing threats include impacts from moss-rock and rip-rap collecting operations, illegal plant collection, and damage from recreational use or livestock trampling. Denver Botanic Gardens maintains a seed collection and has established macroplots of Colorado Hookless cactus populations to monitor demographic trends as part of its conservation efforts to save this species from extinction.
Learn more about the Colorado hookless cactus on its National Collection Plant Profile and support its conservation with a Plant Sponsorship.