Cacti of Texas
This is merely a checklist of the cacti, or cactus, or cactuses, found within the State of Texas. It includes general ranges and counties of known occurrence, including distribution into adjacent areas or entire range. Information is taken from Lyman Benson's, Cacti of the United States and Canada, 1982 and are current to that date. Some names have recently been changed or amended, I am working on that, therefore, some genera are changed from that of Benson.
Species in Red were endangered species according to Benson, 1982. Those with links are species currently listed according to the Federal and Texas Endangered Species lists. If a species with varieties is red (like Cylindropuntia imbricata), then one or more of the varieties (like var. argentea) are listed as threatened or endangered, in which case the variety is highlighted in Red.
Most of the links are to CactiGuide.com, with many thanks to Daiv Freeman, plus a few of my own photos.
Links to some points of interest, mostly maps.
Natural Subdivisions of Texas
Texas State Parks Map Links
Texas Vegetation Types
Map of Texas Counties
Locations: The locations listed in the distributions below are generally listed as counties in Texas, unless otherwise noted;
TP: Trans-Pecos, the far western
region of Texas west of the Pecos River including Pecos, Reeves, Brewster,
Presidio, Jeff Davis, Culberson, Hudspeth, and El Paso counties. The Chihuahuan
Desert extends into this area from Mexico;
BBNP: Big Bend National Park, located at the southern end of Brewster County in Trans-Pecos, Texas;
PH: Panhandle of Texas, the uppermost 26 counties of Texas;
S, W, E, N, C, and combinations preceding a county or location are directional, i.e., South, West, East, North, SouthEast (SE), etc., C being Central.
Stockton Plateau: A limestone rich area of SW Texas that generally encompasses the following counties: S Pecos, Terrell, Val Verde, and Crockett.
Edwards Plateau: A limestone rich area of central Texas, bounded on the east by the Balcones Escarpment, from Georgetown to Austin to San Antonio westward to Edwards, E Val Verde, Schleicher, and Sutton counties, north to San Saba, Mills, and Lampasas counties. In the middle of this region is the Llano Uplift, a massive exposure of Precambrian granite in Burnet, Llano, Gillespie (Enchanted Rock State Natural Area is here), and N Blanco counties.
Order Cactales/Family Cactaceae
Tribe 2. Opuntiae
Section 1. Cylindraceae
Distribution: N Brewster in the Glass Mtns, ?Endangered.
Rare but locally abundant in
sandy soils throughout its range: Hansford, SW Potter, S Swisher, Parmer,
Bailey, Cochran, Nolan, Childress, Mitchell, Kent, Tom Green, Coryell,
McCulloch, Gillespie, Brewster, Presidio, Jeff Davis, Culberson; OK in Greer
and Harmon; E NM.
Tree cholla, coyonostole
Distribution: Grasslands in West TX in and west of San Saba, Burnet, Bexar, Victoria, to SE AZ, S CO, SW KS and Cimarron Co., OK.
Distribution: S Brewster in BBNP, Threatened.
Cylindropuntia leptocaulisIn Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Randall Co., Texas, (c) 2004 Kari J McWest
Desert Christmas cactus, pencil cholla, tasajillo, tesajo
Distribution: Widespread west of a line from Oldham to Clay to Walker to Victoria to Cameron, west to Mohave, AZ; also in Murray, OK.
Cylindropuntia kleiniae var. kleiniae
Distribution: TP: Brewster, Presidio, Jeff Davis, Culberson, Hudspeth; to San Miguel and Hidalgo, NM; also in Eastland and Lampasas, TX, and in Kingfisher, OK.
Section 2. Clavatae
The Club Chollas
Distribution: SW TX in Brown, Cameron, Starr, Zapata, Webb, Val Verde, Schleicher, Brewster, Presidio, El Paso.
Distribution: Brewster, Hudspeth, El Paso, and S Otero and S Dona Ana, NM.
The Prickly Pears
Section 1. Opuntia
Series 1. Polyacanthae
Plains prickly pear
Distribution: TP: NE Presidio, Jeff Davis, N Culberson, N Hudspeth, El Paso, to SW Wyoming, W Nevada and San Bernardino, CA.
Distribution: TP: N Brewster, Culberson, Hudspeth; PH: Potter, Armstrong, Hutchinson, to NM, CO, SE UT and N AZ.
Little prickly pear
Distribution: PH: Potter, Hutchinson; to Curry Co., NM, Coconino Co., AZ, extreme N CA, into Canada, to the Upper Peninsula MI, WI, to Cimarron Co., OK. This northernmost cactus occurs near Ft St John, British Columbia, Canada.
Distribution: In sands along the Rio Grande from extreme SW Hudspeth to W El Paso and into Dona Ana, NM to Las Cruces. Threatened.
Series 2. Basilares
Blind prickly pear
Distribution: TP: Big Bend Region of NW Presidio to S Brewster near Rio Grande.
Series 3. Opuntiae
Distribution: Coastal SE United States in dunes. Isolated records in Texas are Chambers at Anahuac, Galveston at Baffle Point of Bolivar Peninsula, Aransas at Rockport, and eastward along Gulf Coast to N FL (not S of Sarasota) to NC islands, also south central GA.
Eastern prickly pear
Distribution: E of line from Cameron-Kerr-Archer in TX, to Kansas City, MO, WI, MI, to Cape Cod, MA, to S FL.
Distribution: Galveston (intergrades with Opuntia stricta), Harris (Harrisburg), TX, to C AL and Mobile Bay.
Plains prickly pear
Distribution: Widespread in TX, absent from Stockton Plateau and Pecos River Valley (in Pecos Valley of S NM), to MI and S ID, to Yuma, AZ and extreme NE San Bernardino Co., CA, also in Lake Charles, LA, C AR.
Distribution: Potter (Amarillo), Mitchell, Maverick, and TP, to Santa Cruz (Nogales) and Pinal (Superstition Mountains) AZ, to Bernalillo (Albuquerque), NM.
Distribution: Presidio, Brewster, Mitchell, Nolan, Taylor, Bee, Terrell, Val Verde, and Uvalde in western Texas.
Purple prickly pear
Distribution: Hudspeth, to Gila and Pima, AZ.
Distribution: TP, Brewster from BBNP to Jeff Davis, north and west to Organ Pipe National Monument, Pima, and N Gila, AZ.
Distribution: Rare, Reeves, El Paso, Crane, Presidio, Brewster of Texas, to Otero, NM, and Cochise, AZ.
Distribution: TP (except Pecos Co.), and SW Webb and SW LaSalle, TX, north and west to Pima and Graham, AZ, and Lincoln and Eddy, NM.
Distribution: From vicinity of towns of Sanderson (Terrell Co.) and Alpine (Brewster Co)., to S Hudspeth, El Paso, to along NM/TX border in Lea and Union Co., NM to Jefferson (Denver), and Mesa (Grand Junction), CO, to Washington (St. George), UT, south and southeast to Mohave, Yavapai, and Cochise (Huachuca Mtns), AZ.
Distribution: Uncommon. PH: from Randall, Hutchinson, Briscoe, Floyd, Guadalupe Co., NM, to W OK.
Distribution: Throughout Brewster, but Presidio only near Ruidosa and Candelaria.
Distribution: Floyd to Travis to Atascosa westward, including Tom Green, to San Diego, Orange, and Inyo, CA and Washington, UT, to Bernalillo, NM.
var. majorIn Palo Duro Canyon State Park, Randall Co., Texas, (c) 2004 Kari J McWest
Distribution: Widespread. W of Trego, KS-Dallas-San Patricio-Hidalgo, includes PH: Potter, Deaf Smith, Swisher, Briscoe, to San Diego to San Luis Obispo, CA to Boulder, CO, and in Fall River, SD.
Texas prickly pear
Distribution: Tom Green-Lampasas-Smith-Galveston/Bolivar south and west to Hidalgo, NM and in Guadalupe and Quay, NM, and in Murray, Pontotoc, and Johnston, OK.
Distribution: ?Extinct, native populations from Bexar (San Antonio). Benson (p. 495): "The variety was introduced into cultivation by David Griffiths about 1908, and it has escaped in various localities. During 66 years the plant has not been demonstrated to occur still as a native variety." Commonly cultivated throughout the southwest.
Distribution: Rio Grande Valley from Cameron (Port Isabel) to Zapata, Webb, and W Duval.
Distribution: Rio Grande Plain from S Cameron, South Padre Island, Nueces, Kleberg, McMullen.
Southern spineless cactus
Distribution: Rare. From Nueces east to Galveston Island, S Chambers, S Lee, W to FL, inc. Key West, and SC.
Distribution: Cameron, Chambers, Galveston on Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island, and in coastal FL to SC.
Distribution: Pecos, Terrell, E Crockett, Nolan, El Paso.
Distribution: Extinct? San Patricio and Webb.
Indian Fig, nopal
Opuntia "dillei" (= f.i. + Opuntia phaeacantha major)
Davis, N Brewster (Alpine), Val Verde (Del Rio), Dona Ana (Las Cruces), NM, Alamogordo, NM, Guadalupe Mtns, NM.
Opuntia "subarmata" (= f.i. + Opuntia lindheimeri)
Distribution: BBNP, Val Verde (Del Rio), Webb/La Salle corner, Coryell-Hays.
Tribe 3. Cacteae (Cereae)
Subtribe 1. Cereinae
Former Genus Cereus :
Genus Acanthocereus (Britton & Rose)
Distribution: Cameron, and in S FL, including the Keys.
Genus Peniocereus (Britton & Rose)
Desert night-blooming cereus
Distribution: TP: Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Brewster, Pecos, Terrell near Sanderson, to E Hidalgo and S Grant, NM, E Cochise, AZ.
Distribution: Lower Rio Grande Valley/Plain in SW Webb, W Zapata, SW Starr, SE Cameron, E Duval.
claret cup, red-flowered hedgehog
Distribution: TP and Stockton Plateau: El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Brewster, Presidio, Val Verde, W Sutton, Kimball, Uvalde, and west to Pima, AZ and McKinley, NM, N to Bernalillo, NM.
Distribution: TP: W Terrell, Brewster, Presidio, Culberson, Hudspeth, El Paso, N to Dona Ana, Otero, and Eddy, NM. Possibly in Jeff Davis, TX, although rare above 5,000 feet elevation (prefers Chihuahuan Desert and associated grasslands).
Distribution: Widespread from Central Texas to AZ, CA (E Inyo), NV, UT, CO, and NM: In Texas: TP and Edwards Plateau: Burnet, Llano, Gillespie, Kerr, Edwards, Hays, Uvalde, Zavala, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Brewster, and N of McAllen in Hidalgo; also in Curry, NM, near Clovis.
Note: The epithet melanocanthus means "black spined", specimens with which are actually rare, but some occur near the type locality of 15 mi SE Santa Fe, NM
Distribution: Edwards Plateau to TP: Lampasas, Kimble, Uvalde, Val Verde, Pecos, Jeff Davis.
Distribution (general): Rio Grande Plain.
Distribution: From Cameron (Port Isabel) to Webb (Laredo).
Distribution: Bexar (San Antonio), McMullen, Jim Wells, Duval, Webb, N Cameron
Distribution: ?Extinct, near Linn, Hidalgo.
Distribution: S TX in Bexar (San Antonio), N McMullen, and along Rio Grande in Starr, Hidalgo, to E Cameron.
Distribution: El Paso, W Hudspeth, into New Mexico, S CO, AZ.
Distribution: SE Culberson, Hudspeth, El Paso, S NM to Pima and S Pinal, Greenlee, AZ.
Hedgehog, pitaya, pitahaya
Distribution: SW Tom Green-Travis-Cameron and west to Ash Canyon, Organ Mountains, Dona Ana, NM.
Distribution: Real-Bexar-Jim Wells-Hidalgo west to Val Verde.
strawberry hedgehog, strawberry pitaya
Distribution: SW Tom Green, W Val Verde-El Paso to the Guadalupe (Eddy), Sacramento (Otero), and Organ (Dona Ana) mountains, NM.
Distribution: Val Verde, Big Bend Region of Brewster and Presidio, W Hudspeth-El Paso.
Distribution: Pecos, and Dona Ana and Eddy, NM; Endangered.
Distribution: Rare in TX: El Paso, Brewster, S Pecos, Maverick, and S Cochise in AZ.
Distribution: Terrell, Val Verde, Sutton, Brewster.
Distribution: S Brewster, El Paso, and S Dona Ana
Distribution: TP (except Reeves and Jeff Davis), Mitchell, Midland, Maverick, to near Benson, W Cochise, AZ, and SC Cibola, S Lincoln and Chaves, NM, southward. Possibly in Pima and Santa Cruz, AZ.
Distribution: Dallam, Ochiltree, Roberts, Hemphill, Potter (also near Borger, Hutchinson Co., KJM), to Edwards Palteau and Central Texas E to Fayette, S and W to Duval and Uvalde. Also to C andW OK.
var. perbellusBaby one in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, (c)2004 Kari J McWest.
Distribution: Randall, Armstrong, Bailey, Dickens, Howard, Mitchell, Jones, Taylor, Sutton, to Otero, Lea, Chaves, Union, NM, and S CO.
Distribution: Jim Wells, near Alice, Endangered. "Kleberg, Jim Wells, and Refugio counties of south Texas." -- TPWD
Distribution: RGV Webb to Starr, Threatened
var. chisosensis Echinocereus chisoensis var. chisoensis in TPWD list.
Distribution: BBNP, Threatened
Distribution: NW Childress Co., 10 mi E of Memphis = hybrid swarm w/perbellus?
Distribution: SE Potter, SE Oldham, ?Threatened
Distribution: S of Marathon, Brewster Co., Endangered
Distribution: near Ft. Stockton, Pecos Co., and Marathon, Brewster Co., Threatened
Distribution: El Paso, Culberson, Brewster
Distribution: BBNP N to Jeff Davis to Cornudas Mtns, El Paso in Franklin Mtns
Distribution: near Marathon, Brewster Co., Endangered
Subtribe 2. Cactineae
Distribution: Starr, S Zapata, NW Jim Hogg, SE Webb, BBNP in Brewster Co., near Presidio, Presidio Co.
Southwestern Barrel Cactus
Distribution: El Paso
Distribution: El Paso, TP to Port Isabel, Kleburg, Jim Wells, Duval
Distribution: W San Patricio
Distribution: San Saba, Balcones Escarpment from Val Verde to Williamson and southward
Turks’ Head Cactus
Distribution: TP, Val Verde, Kinney, and Duval
Horse crippler, devil’s head
Distribution: "from Pecos Valley and N Brewster Co. NE to Garza, Young, and Tarrant Cos., and S and E to Travis, Refugio, and Cameron Cos." Benson, p. 723
Distribution: Medina, Val Verde, Pecos, Brewster, W Hudspeth, El Paso, into S NM
Big Bend button cactus
Distribution: S Brewster Co., Threatened
Distribution: Starr, Brewster near Marathon and Lajitas
Distribution: Starr, Brewster near Marathon, Threatened
Distribution: Edwards, Terrell, Pecos, Brewster, Culberson, El Paso
Distribution: Brewster, Presidio, Culberson, Hudspeth, Threatened
Distribution: Sour Lake, Hardin Co., Endangered
Distribution: SW Brewster, Threatened
Distribution: Common, N Brewster, Solitario & NW Presidio Co., Jeff Davis near Ft Davis "the Limpia", El Paso
Distribution: BBNP to Marathon in Brewster, El Paso
Ancistrocactustobuschii Sclerocactus brevihamatus var. tobuschii
Distribution: Bandera Co., near Vanderpool, Endangered. "Western Edwards Plateau in Bandera, Edwards, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Real, Uvalde, and Val Verde Counties." -- TPWD
Distribution: RGV from Val Verde to Hidalgo, N and W to Jim Wells and Frio
Distribution: TP from Val Verde-Crockett-Reeves and west, also Starr
Coryphantha minimaEscobaria minima
Distribution: near Marathon, Brewster Co., Endangered
Distribution: Zapata, Ector, and TP
Distribution: Maverick, Brewster, Reeves
Distribution: NW Brewster, Jeff Davis, S Hudspeth, El Paso
Distribution: El Paso, Threatened
Distribution: El Paso, Threatened
C. vivipara var. "neomexicana", an intermediate swarm, from Chihuahuan Desert near White's City, Eddy Co., NM, in bloom, July 2002 (c)2002 W.M. Burrell/K.J. McWest. In cultivation. Bloom is about 10 mm in diameter.
Distribution: Potter, Randall, Archer, to Canada.
C. vivipara var. vivipara from grasslands near Canyon, Randall Co., TX, in bloom, June 2002 (c)2002 W.M. Burrell; same specimen, detail (c)2002 W.M. Burrell. In cultivation.
Potter, Moore, S to San Saba, and in TP Texas
Distribution: N Brewster Co., Threatened
Distribution: Stockton Plateau of E Brewster Co., W Terrell Co., Endangered
Distribution: Tarrant, Central TX Uvalde-Austin Co.-Mills, Duval
Distribution: Maverick, Threatened
Distribution: TP, Val Verde, Maverick, Howard, and Cooke
Distribution: TP SW Terrell/Pecos N and W to El Paso, not Jeff Davis
Distribution: SW Brewster, Endangered
Distribution: Franklin Mtns, El Paso, Threatened
Distribution: Pecos, Brewster, S Hudspeth, El Paso
Distribution: S Jeff Davis, Brewster, W Presidio, Threatened
Distribution: S Val Verde to W Hidalgo, NW Duval
Distribution: SE Presidio, Chisos Mtns Brewster, Threatened
Distribution: Kerr, Blanco, Lampsas, Walker, Austin Co. (near Industry), Bexar, Tarrant, Dallas, Kaufman
Distribution: Benson says "from Canadian River…" p. 860, Hale, Young, Denton, Bexar, Travis
Distribution: From Cameron to Pecos to Presidio
Distribution: Maverick, Webb, Starr, Cameron, Duval, Kleburg, Nueces, San Patricio
Distribution: E Randall in Palo Duro Canyon State Park, and Burnet, San Saba to San Patricio and El Paso southward
Distribution: Rio Grande Plain: Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron, Willacy, Kleberg, Nueces, Jim Wells, ?Jim Hogg LB p. 871
Distribution: TP: El Paso, Jeff Davis, Presidio, Brewster
Distribution: S. TX: Val Verde, Real, Bexar, Kinney. Webb, Hidalgo, Brooks
Distribution: TP: Val Verde, Pecos, Brewster, Presidio, Culberson, Hudspeth, El Paso
Distribution: W Brewster, Presidio, and Webb
Distribution: NW Presidio, El Paso, to C and W AZ
Distribution: Franklin Mtns, El Paso, to N NM