The needle spined pineapple cactus is a single stem cactus growing from six to twelve inches high. One to two reddish-brown central spines are surrounded by eleven to fifteen radial spines.1 The flowers are pink, with bright red stigma lobes. The fruit is green, drying to tan.
Habitat: This species grows on hills, alluvial fans, and in valleys in rocky limestone soils from 3,000 to 4,300 feet in the Sonoran desert scrub and semidesert grassland.2
Range: The needle spined pineapple cactus occurs from south-central to southeastern Arizona, in Pima and Cochise Counties.1
Status: This species is considered a U.S. Fish and Wildlife "Species of Concern," considered "sensitive" by the Regional Forester, and is salvage restricted by the Arizona Native Plant Law.
Needle Spined Pineapple Cactus in Pima County: The needle spined pineapple cactus occurs east of Tucson near Vail, and is found within the Cienega Creek Natural Preserve and Colossal Cave Mountain Park.2 Concerns for this species include collection for cactus trade and urbanization.1
1. Arizona Game and Fish Department. 1997. Echinomastus erectocentrus var. erectocentrus. Heritage Data Management System.
2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1992. Handbook of Arizona's Endangered, Threatened, and Candidate Plants. pp.51
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