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Click to see the Flora of North America key to Sclerocactus.

Sclerocactus mesae-verdae (Mesa Verde Fishhook Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

These rare plants are just over an inch high -- with their flowers.

Sclerocactus parviflorus

Sclerocactus parviflorus

 

 

 

 

Sclerocactus parviflorus subspecies intermedius (Small-flower Fishhook Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Woodlands, openings  Spring.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, May 8 and 28, 2009.

It is common for Sclerocactus parviflorus to have five, ten, or even many more buds (as in the top photograph at left).

The bottom photograph at left shows a small plant (the ruler is metric) with prominent pyramid-shaped tubercles (the green bumps with the spines coming out of them).  In older plants these tubercles are so near each other that they appear as a long ridge running vertically.

Sclerocactus parviflorus

Sclerocactus parviflorus subspecies intermedius (Small-flower Fishhook Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Woodlands, openings  Spring.  Hunter Canyon Trail, Utah, May 3, 2005.

As this picture indicates, S. parviflorus can produce clustered plants, but it is far more common to find unbranched, solitary stems.  The pictured plants are about seven inches tall.

Sclerocactus parviflorus

Sclerocactus parviflorus subspecies intermedius (Small-flower Fishhook Cactus)
Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Semi-desert, foothills.  Woodlands, openings  Spring.  Mike and Mona's Five Springs Farm, July 14, 2010.

Flowers in the photograph at left are long past, and fruits have developed.  When we pulled one of the fruits to see if it might be edible, the long pink covering pulled off leaving a cup filled with tiny black seeds.