CPC Plant Profile: Red-spine Butterfly Cactus
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Plant Profile

Red-spine Butterfly Cactus (Sclerocactus erectocentrus var. erectocentrus)

An herbarium specimen of this taxon. Photo Credit:
  • Global Rank: T3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • State: AZ
  • Nature Serve ID: 154572
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Echinomastus erectrocentrus var. erectrocentrus is a small cactus that can grow up to 6 inches in height. Plants have central spines that point upward. Variety erectrocentrus and var. acunensis are virtually indistinguishable, and may not be taxonomically distinct, according to Dr. Don Pinkava of Arizona State University (pers. comm. 1991). Characters based on size and flower color were formerly used to separate the two taxa, but these may not be accurate indicators. Geographic range is now used to separate the two, with var. erectrocentrus occurring in the general Tucson area east and south to the Mexican border, and var. acunensis in northern Sonora, Organpipe National Monument, northward and east to the Florence area. Variety erectrocentrus grows on alluvial fans and hills, usually limestone at elevations of 1300-2000 ft.

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Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Primary threats are habitat degradation due to urbanization, and collection.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Population status is unknown.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

None known.

Kathleen C. Rice
  • 01/01/2010

Studying aspects of this species general biology and ecology would be useful. Population size and sites need to be determined.


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Taxon Sclerocactus erectocentrus var. erectocentrus
Authority (J.M. Coult.) N.P. Taylor
Family Cactaceae
CPC Number 2939
ITIS 913454
Common Names needle-spined pineapple cactus | redspine fishhook cactus
Associated Scientific Names Echinomastus erectocentrus var. erectocentrus | Sclerocactus erectocentrus var. erectocentrus | Echinomastus erectocentrus | Echinomastus acunensis | Echinomastus erectocentrus var. acunensis | Echinomastus erectocentrus subsp. erectocentrus
Distribution E. erectrocentrus var. erectrocentrus occurs from south-central to southeastern Arizona (Sonoran Desert Educational Center 2002).
State Rank
State State Rank
Arizona S3

E. erectrocentrus var. erectrocentrus grows on alluvial fans and hills, usually limestone at elevations of 1300-2000 ft (Benson 1982).

Ecological Relationships

Ecological relationships are unknown, however E. erectrocentrus var. erectrocentrus is associated with plants of the Sonoran Desert scrub including: Larrea divaricata ssp. Tridentata, Opuntia phaeacantha and Yucca angustissima Arizona Game and Fish Department 1999).

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

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