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White Sands National Park Cactus

The Cactaceae (cactus family) is represented by 17 species on WSNM, with the most visible being the claret cup hedgehog cactus (photo to the right) and the cane or tree cholla (with its bright magenta blossoms)that is abundant in the shrublands surrounding the dunes. The majority of White Sands cacti are restricted to the scrubland, interdune areas, and more stable vegetated dunes on the margins of the dunefield.

Unusual species of this family include the blue barrel cactus (Echinocactus) and the paper-spined plains cactus (Pediocactus), sometimes called the grama grass cactus.

Other cacti found on the monument are:

beehive (Genus Corypantha): nipple, needle, and biscuit

hedgehog (Genus Echinocereus): Fendler's, Fendler needle-spine, straw-colored, and claret cup

cholla (Genus Opuntia): club, cane (tree), Klein pencil, and desert Christmas cactus

prickley pear (Genus Opuntia): tuberous-rooted (plains), desert, red-spined, and long-spined.

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