CPC Plant Profile: Uinta Basin Hookless Cactus
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Plant Profile

Uinta Basin Hookless Cactus (Sclerocactus wetlandicus)

Photo Credit: Red Butte Garden
Description
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Cactaceae
  • State: UT
  • Nature Serve ID: 817003
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 12/01/2021

S. wetlandicus is a barrel-shaped cactus that is endemic to the Uinta Basin of northeastern Utah. Due to its location, it is threatened primarily by oil and gas development. This small cactus averages anywhere from 1.5-7 inches, though larger specimens have been observed. It generally has 6-14 white-gray radial spines and 3 central spines, which are longer than the radial spines. The cactus has gorgeous funnel-shaped flowers that vary from light pink to fuchsia with yellow stamens reaching up to 2 inches long. The fruit is short, barrel-shaped, and red or reddish grey when ripe (USFWS 2010). Though morphologically similar to S. glaucus and S. brevispinus, it has been determined that all three are distinct species. The US Fish and Wildlife Service finalized this distinction in 2009. S. wetlandicus is typically larger than S. brevispinus, and has longer spines, however these two species do hybridize where their ranges overlap (Natureserve 2013, USFWS 2012).

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 09/28/2020
  • Demographic Research

FWS has developed a range-wide monitoring plan, and is supporting research on the effects of development on the cactus.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Living Collection

RBG is also storing seeds collected during range-wide monitoring, and has a few salvaged plants in its care, from which they have collected seed that will be stored for germination testing and other research needs.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Orthodox Seed Banking

Red Butte Garden transplanted 147 individual cacti from a natural gas pipeline right-of-way in 2011. Survivorship has been monitored through 2013. RBG is also storing seeds collected during range-wide monitoring, and has a few salvaged plants in its care, from which they have collected seed that will be stored for germination testing and other research needs. FWS has developed a range-wide monitoring plan, and is supporting research on the effects of development on the cactus.

  • 09/28/2020
  • Seed Collection

Red Butte Garden transplanted 147 individual cacti from a natural gas pipeline right-of-way in 2011. Survivorship has been monitored through 2013. RBG is also storing seeds collected during range-wide monitoring, and has a few salvaged plants in its care, from which they have collected seed that will be stored for germination testing and other research needs. FWS has developed a range-wide monitoring plan, and is supporting research on the effects of development on the cactus.

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the Uinta Basin in northeast Utah. Vulnerable to disturbance from oil and gas exploration and development.

Wendy Yates, Katie Plumb
  • 01/01/2010

Major oil and gas development Illegal collection Livestock grazing and trampling Predation Drought and climate change Herbicides and pesticides Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms

Wendy Yates, Katie Plumb
  • 01/01/2010

50,000 (estimated)

Wendy Yates, Katie Plumb
  • 01/01/2010

Red Butte Garden transplanted 147 individual cacti from a natural gas pipeline right-of-way in 2011. Survivorship has been monitored through 2013. RBG is also storing seeds collected during range-wide monitoring, and has a few salvaged plants in its care, from which they have collected seed that will be stored for germination testing and other research needs. FWS has developed a range-wide monitoring plan, and is supporting research on the effects of development on the cactus.

Wendy Yates, Katie Plumb
  • 01/01/2010

FWS has developed a recovery outline, and is in the process of finalizing a full recovery plan. They are developing management guidelines and core conservation areas with the help of the BLM, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Ute Tribe. In 2010, the largest and most undisturbed S. wetlandicus population was surveyed, revealing that the previous population estimates of 30,000 were too low, and total S. wetlandicus population it is now estimated to be closer to 50,000.

Wendy Yates, Katie Plumb
  • 01/01/2010

Revised recovery plan Comprehensive surveys throughout the species range Range map delineating S. wetlandicus in relation to S. brevispinus Establish formal land management designations Install livestock exclosures Monitor cactus-borer beetle (Moneilema semipunctatum) infestations, and study the relationship of episodic infestations with drought and other environmental factors. Monitor changes in invasive species prevalence and impacts on Uinta Basin hookless cactus. Additionally, continue to explore approaches to minimize the risk posed by invasives and associated remediation actions. Encourage investigations that project S. wetlandicus vulnerability and response to climate change.

Wendy Yates, Katie Plumb
  • 01/01/2010

More seed banking for better genetic representation Continued propagation

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Nomenclature
Taxon Sclerocactus wetlandicus
Authority Hochstatter
Family Cactaceae
CPC Number 44463
ITIS 908403
USDA SCWE
Common Names Parriette Hookless Cactus | Uinta Basin hookless cactus
Associated Scientific Names Sclerocactus wetlandicus | Pediocactus wetlandicus
Distribution S. wetlandicus is found primarily within Uintah County, Utah, along the Green River, White River, and their tributaries. It is also found in Duchesne and Carbon Counties (USFWS 2012). Approximately 8
State Rank
State State Rank
Utah S3
Habitat

Plants are generally found on coarse soils derived from cobble and gravel river terrace deposits, or on rocky mesa slopes from 4,400 to 6,200 feet. Associated desert shrubland vegetation includes shadscale, black sagebrush, and galleta grass (USFWS 2012).

Ecological Relationships

A variety of native bees and possibly other insects, including ants and beetles, pollinate S. wetlandicus (Service 1990). Under-pollination may be a problem for S. wetlandicus, but more studies are needed (Tepedino 2000).Parasitism by the cactus-borer beetle (Moneilema semipunctatum) is a significant but localized source of mortality to all Sclerocactus species on the Colorado Plateau, especially in larger, mature, reproducing individuals Additional studies are needed to determine the long-term, population-level effects of the cactus-borer beetle to S. wetlandicus (USFWS 2010).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID
Bees
Mining bees Andrena Floral Visitor Link
Sweat bees Agapostemon Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Anthophorine bees Anthophora Floral Visitor Link
Bumble bees Bombus huntii Floral Visitor Link
Sweat bees Halictus Suspected Pollinator Floral Link
Sweat bees Lasioglossum Suspected Pollinator Floral Link

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