Micropuntia pulchella

Engelmann. 1863. Transactions of the Academy of Science of St. Louis 2(1): 201.

Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen; Herbarium specimen

Original species description

Flora of North America treatment

What is Micropuntia pulchella?

Micropuntia pulchella is a geophyte; it dies back to a tuber-like organ when conditions are not favorable. The underground structure has areoles and glochids.


M. pulchella sends out shoots from the tuber when moisture or warm weather returns. M. pulchella occurs in the northern Mojave Desert in NV and adjacent CA and UT on sandy soils and even dry lake beds; it is not abundant. Traditionally, M. pulchella was seen as a congener of other related plants. But, treatment as a member of the genus Grusonia (or Corynopuntia) was challenged recently. Analysis of the nuclear ribosomal internal transcribed spacer region (nirITS) favored placement in Micropuntia. See the publication and rationale for the placement.

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