CPC Plant Profile: New Mexico Fishhook Cactus
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Plant Profile

New Mexico Fishhook Cactus (Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii)

Closeup of Sclerocactus cloverae Photo Credit: Sheila Murray
Description
  • Global Rank: T2 - Imperiled
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • State: CO, NM, NN
  • Nature Serve ID: 145408
  • Date Inducted in National Collection:

Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii is a small, solitary cactus only 3-8 cm tall and 2-7 cm wide. It usually has 4 or 5 central spines, straw colored to brown, and the lower spine is hooked and about 3 cm long. Purple flowers appear from late April to May, and result in small, 1-5 mm long fruits. This subspecies differs from S. cloverae ssp. cloverae by first producing flowers when they are 3 cm or less in diameter (Daniela Roth. 2001). Also differs in that the reduced spination of juveniles lasts for several years and persists on plants of early reproductive maturity to as large as 10 cm tall and 10 cm across. If plants survive to such a size, they all produce typical adult spination eventually and become indistinguishable from adults of typical S. cloverae. (New Mexico Rare Plants Technical Council. 1998) In Flora of North America, Volume 4 (2003), Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii is included in synonymy under Sclerocactus cloverae with a discussion at the end of the species' account stating, "Populations with all reproductive individuals maintaining juvenile morphology have been segregated as S. cloverae subsp. brackii K.D. Heil & J.M. Porter." Discussions with Ken Heil, author of both the FNA treatment and Heil and Porter (1994), indicate that he believes Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii should be recognized as a distinct entity. This subspecies has been known since about 1982 as Sclerocactus gradyi, but that name was never validly published. (New Mexico Rare Plants Technical Council. 1998)

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Updates
  • 10/08/2020
  • Genetic Research

(Sheila Murray, 2008) Mark Porter has secured funding for an expanded DNA study of Sclerocactus from the Cactus and Succulent Society, and is conducting a taxonomic review of Sclerocactus in collaboration with J. Travis Columbus and Kenneth D. Heil. (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden website, 2009)

  • 10/08/2020
  • Propagation Research

(Sheila Murray, 2006, 2008) Germination trials have been initiated by The Arboretum at Flagstaff, and are on-going.

  • 10/08/2020
  • Seed Collection

Seed collections have been made by The Arboretum at Flagstaff and the BLM (2006, 2007).

Sheila Murray, Kristin Haskins
  • 01/01/2010

oil and gas development off-road vehicles

Sheila Murray, Kristin Haskins
  • 01/01/2010

Because of its recent separation from Sclerocactus cloverae, S. cloverae ssp. brackii has not been adequately surveyed. More research on population sizes should be conducted.

Sheila Murray, Kristin Haskins
  • 01/01/2010

Seed collections have been made by The Arboretum at Flagstaff and the BLM (2006, 2007). (Sheila Murray, 2006, 2008) Germination trials have been initiated by The Arboretum at Flagstaff, and are on-going. (Sheila Murray, 2008) Mark Porter has secured funding for an expanded DNA study of Sclerocactus from the Cactus and Succulent Society, and is conducting a taxonomic review of Sclerocactus in collaboration with J. Travis Columbus and Kenneth D. Heil. (Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden website, 2009)

Sheila Murray, Kristin Haskins
  • 01/01/2010

Navajo Nation BLM

Sheila Murray, Kristin Haskins
  • 01/01/2010

Surveys Population counts Ecological studies

Sheila Murray, Kristin Haskins
  • 01/01/2010

Seed banking Genetic studies Develop a propagation protocol

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii
Authority K.D. Heil & J.M. Porter
Family Cactaceae
CPC Number 3889
ITIS 912410
USDA SCCL5
Common Names None Known
Associated Scientific Names Sclerocactus cloverae | Sclerocactus whipplei var. heilii | Sclerocactus whipplei var. reevsii | Pediocactus cloverae | Sclerocactus whipplei var. reevesii | Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii
Distribution New Mexico, San Juan County, known from limited areas on both sides of the San Juan River valley. (New Mexico Rare Plants Technical Council. 1998)
State Rank
State State Rank
Colorado SNR
New Mexico S3
Navajo Nation S1
Habitat

On sandy clay hills of the Nacimiento Formation, in desert scrub and scattered juniper communities at 5000 to 6400ft (1,500-1,950 m). (Daniela Roth. 2001, New Mexico Rare Plants Technical Council. 1998)

Ecological Relationships

Sclerocactus cloverae ssp. brackii is only found growing in soils derived from the Nacimiento Formation and is often found with Aliciella formosa, another rare plant found in San Juan County. (New Mexico Rare Plants Technical Council. 1998)

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

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