CPC Plant Profile: Acuna Cactus
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Plant Profile

Acuna Cactus (Sclerocactus erectocentrus var. acunensis)

An herbarium specimen of this taxon. Photo Credit:
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • State: AZ
  • Nature Serve ID: 159698
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Cactus with solitary stems 7.5-15.0 cm tall and 7.5-10 cm wide, gray-green in color. A groove extends from the aereole to the base of each tubercule. Spines are distinctive. Radial spines 11-15 per cluster, up to 2.5 cm long, reddish to yellowish with dark tips. Central spines are 1.88-3.45 cm long, straight. Upper central spines are ascending and converging (Phillips, Phillips and Brian 1982). Flowers 5.0 cm or more long, petaloid perianth parts coral pink to mallow (Benson), pink to purple (Rutman). Fruits pale green, dry to tan, 1.25 cm long, bearing papery scales, and dehiscing by splitting along the side. Seeds are round and black. Plants are single plump stems with straight central spines. Mamillaria microcarpa has more than one stem and hooked central spines. Echinocereus spp. have flowers produced on old growth below the apex and usually have several stems and lighter colored spines (Phillips, Phillips, and Brian 1982).

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Updates
  • 09/28/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Desert Botanical Garden is actively involved in testing seeds of Acuna cactus for germinability. Seeds produced on salvaged plants have been germinated to produce a new generation of Acuna cactus, but the seedlings did not survive the winter. Tests involve comparisons of various storage, germination and horticultural techniques related to survival of the taxon in the wild.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Living Collection

Sue Rutman (pers. com. 2007) reported that there were no maturre plants found on any of the permanent monitoring transects on Organpipe National Monument. No plant carcasses were found, but Sue observed that plants in cultivation in the OPNM nursery were being eaten by insects or rodents.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Reproductive Research

Monitoring plots have been established (Buskirk 1981, Phillip and Buskirk 1992, Heil and Melton 1994). Johnson (1992) found eleven bees associated with pollinating this species.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Demographic Research

Monitoring plots have been established (Buskirk 1981, Phillip and Buskirk 1992, Heil and Melton 1994). Johnson (1992) found eleven bees associated with pollinating this species. There are six known US sites. Three occur at Organpipe National Monument, two on BLM land and one on private land. Sue Rutman (pers. com. 2007) reported that there were no mature plants found on any of the permanent monitoring transects on Organpipe National Monument. No plant carcasses were found, but Sue observed that plants in cultivation in the OPNM nursery were being eaten by insects or rodents.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Propagation Research

Desert Botanical Garden is actively involved in testing seeds of Acuna cactus for germinability. Seeds produced on salvaged plants have been germinated to produce a new generation of Acuna cactus, but the seedlings did not survive the winter. Tests involve comparisons of various storage, germination and horticultural techniques related to survival of the taxon in the wild. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000) New germination tests will be conducted to produce plants that could potentially be used for an experimental population.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Seed Collection

Desert Botanical Garden is actively involved in testing seeds of Acuna cactus for germinability. Seeds produced on salvaged plants have been germinated to produce a new generation of Acuna cactus, but the seedlings did not survive the winter. Tests involve comparisons of various storage, germination and horticultural techniques related to survival of the taxon in the wild. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000) New germination tests will be conducted to produce plants that could potentially be used for an experimental population.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

This cactus variety has a fairly restricted range, being known only from south-central and southwestern Arizona (Pima, Pinal and Maricopa Counties) and Sonoyta, in northern Sonora, Mexico. It occurs on well-drained gravel ridges and knolls in Sonoran Desert scrub association; recent work suggests that bedrock/soil chemistry may partially explain habitat rarity (G. Haxel, pers. comm. to S. Rutman, 2007). Only six occurrences (plus one historical) are known in the United States, and one is known in Mexico. In the past, illegal horticultural collection was considered to be a primary threat. In recent years, however, the primary concern has been significant observed declines in several occurrences, stemming from a prolonged regional drought, small mammal predation, and possibly other causes. Rangewide decline in the number of ?individuals is approximatly 84% (1981 to 2013) and recruitment is rare. Additional threats include urban development, habitat degradation caused by law enforcement activities, habitat alteration by non-native invasive grasses, plant consumption and seed predation by insects (Moneilema gigas and Yosemitia graciella, respectively), and, potentially in the future, mining.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Plants are directly threatened by javelina or rodents uprooting them, and by illegal collection (USFWS 1997). Habitat degradation brought about by overgrazing of grass- and forage-eating animals is another possible threat. Seeds are carried away and cons

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

There are six known US sites. Three occur at Organpipe National Monument, two on BLM land and one on private land. Sue Rutman (pers. com. 2007) reported that there were no maturre plants found on any of the permanent monitoring transects on Organpipe National Monument. No plant carcasses were found, but Sue observed that plants in cultivation in the OPNM nursery were being eaten by insects or rodents.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Monitoring plots have been established (Buskirk 1981, Phillip and Buskirk 1992, Heil and Melton 1994). Johnson (1992) found eleven bees associated with pollinating this species.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Acuna cactus on Organpipe National Monument land is being actively protected by park staff.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Management needs include continued monitoring and protection. Research efforts focusing on seed dispersal, germination and habitat requirements for seedling recruitment would aid in conservation efforts.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Desert Botanical Garden is actively involved in testing seeds of Acuna cactus for germinability. Seeds produced on salvaged plants have been germinated to produce a new generation of Acuna cactus, but the seedlings did not survive the winter. Tests involve comparisons of various storage, germination and horticultural techniques related to survival of the taxon in the wild. (Desert Botanical Garden 2000) New germination tests will be conducted to produce plants that could potentially be used for an experimental population.

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Sclerocactus erectocentrus var. acunensis
Authority (W.T. Marshall) Bravo
Family Cactaceae
CPC Number 13150
ITIS 913453
USDA ECERA
Common Names Acuna cactus | redspine fishhook cactus
Associated Scientific Names Echinomastus erectocentrus var. acunensis | Echinomastus acunensis | Sclerocactus erectocentrus var. acunensis | Neolloydia erectocentra var. acunensis | Echinomastus erectocentrus ssp. acunensis | Neolloydia erectocentra | Sclerocactus erectocentrus
Distribution Southern Arizona and northern Mexico. Western Pima to Maricopa and Pinal Counties, Arizona, USA.
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S1
Habitat

Palo verde-Saguaro Association of the Arizona Subdivision of the Sonoran Desertscrub. Dominant associated species inclued Larrea tridentata, Fouquieria splendens, Ambrosia deltoidea, Encelia farinosa, Olneya tesota, Opuntia acanthocarpa, Cercidium microphyllum, and Ephedra trifurca. Parent material granite (Phillipps, Phillipps, and Brian 1982). Limestone hills and flats (Benson 1982).Andesite (bright red to white) Rutman, 1994. 1,300-2,000 ft. Restricted to well-drained knolls and gravel ridges between major washes (Phillips, Phillips, and Brian, 1982)

Ecological Relationships

Self-incompatible, pillinated by bees, flowering correlated with plant size (Johnson 1992). Seeds are consumed and possibly dispersed by ants, beetles and rodents.

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Reintroduction
Lead Institution State Reintroduction Type Year of First Outplanting

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