Cylindropuntia munzii

Wolf, C.B. 1938. Occasional Papers of the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden 2: 79.

Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen

Original species description (to be added)

Flora of North America treatment


Cylindropuntia munzii is a distinctive, tree-like cholla occurring from southeastern California south along the eastern half of northern Baja California, Mexico. It grows in sandy to rocky soils on flats and hillsides at elevations of approximately 400 to 700 m.  This species has a spreading habit with drooping terminal branches and can grow to over 3 m tall by 3 m wide.  The grey-green, easily detached terminal joints are 4 to 16 cm long by 2 to 4 cm wide. The areoles have 7 to 14 yellow spines with baggy yellow sheaths. The spines age red-brown to grey-black. The flowers range from pale bronze-pink to maroon brown with green filaments and cream styles and stigmas. The fruits are spineless but glochidiate and either dry with many seeds or green and leathery with few to no seeds. C. munzii can be diploid (2n = 22) or triploid (2n = 33).

Recent work by Baker and Cloud-Hughes in the Chocolate Mountains of southeastern California has indicated that individuals with dry, fertile fruit are likely diploid (2n = 22), while individuals with green, leathery, sterile fruit may be triploid (2n = 33). This is most likely the result of hybridization with Cylindropuntia bigelovii, which grows in great abundance with C. munzii in this part of its range. If this is proven to be the case, it will result in a taxonomic conundrum, as the type specimen has sterile fruit and may therefore be a hybrid. C. munzii also hybridizes with C. echinocarpa.

C. munzii is included in the California Native Plant Society Inventory of Rare and Endangered Plants on list 1B.3 (Taxon Report 987).

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