Index of Species Information

SPECIES:  Pediocactus papyracanthus


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
AUTHORSHIP AND CITATION : Matthews, Robin F. 1994. Pediocactus papyracanthus. In: Fire Effects Information System, [Online]. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available: [].
ABBREVIATION : PEDPAP SYNONYMS : Toumeya papyracanthus (Engelm.) Britt. & Rose [4,8,17] SCS PLANT CODE : PEPA20 COMMON NAMES : grama-grass cactus paper-spined cactus toumeya TAXONOMY : The currently accepted scientific name of grama-grass cactus is Pediocactus papyracanthus (Engelmann) L. Benson (Cactaceae) [2,17,18]. There are no recognized subspecies, varieties, or forms. LIFE FORM : Cactus FEDERAL LEGAL STATUS : None OTHER STATUS : Grama-grass cactus has only 6 to 20 occurrences globally and is imperiled and vulnerable to extinction throughout its range. It is on the Texas Natural Heritage Program's Special Plant List and is critically imperiled and vulnerable to extirpation from Texas [13].


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION : Grama-grass cactus is found in the southern portion of Navajo County, Arizona, and from southeast Rio Arriba County and McKinley County to Grant and Dona Ana counties in New Mexico [1,2]. Additional populations have been located in Hudspeth County, Texas [1,13]. Grama-grass cactus is inconspicuous and probably irregular in occurrence; it may be more widespread than presently known [1,2]. ECOSYSTEMS : FRES35 Pinyon - juniper FRES40 Desert grasslands STATES : AZ NM TX BLM PHYSIOGRAPHIC REGIONS : 7 Lower Basin and Range 12 Colorado Plateau KUCHLER PLANT ASSOCIATIONS : K023 Juniper - pinyon woodland K053 Grama - galleta steppe K054 Grama - tobosa prairie SAF COVER TYPES : 220 Rocky Mountain juniper 239 Pinyon - juniper SRM (RANGELAND) COVER TYPES : NO-ENTRY HABITAT TYPES AND PLANT COMMUNITIES : Grama-grass cactus grows in pinyon-juniper woodlands and in desert grasslands and is almost always associated with grama (Bouteloua spp.), especially blue grama (B. gracilis) [2,17]. It may also be associated with dropseed (Sporobolus spp.) [11].


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
IMPORTANCE TO LIVESTOCK AND WILDLIFE : NO-ENTRY PALATABILITY : NO-ENTRY NUTRITIONAL VALUE : NO-ENTRY COVER VALUE : NO-ENTRY VALUE FOR REHABILITATION OF DISTURBED SITES : NO-ENTRY OTHER USES AND VALUES : NO-ENTRY OTHER MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS : In New Mexico, populations of grama-grass cactus are in decline, some severely so. However, its highly inconspicuous nature makes it a difficult species to study. Grama-grass cactus is affected by disturbances such as urban development, grazing, recreational use of land, and cactus collection. It was once common on grassy outwash fans at the western edge of the Sandia Mountains, but that entire area is now consumed by the eastern expansion of the city of Albuquerque. Both grama-grass cactus and its habitat are destroyed by heavy off-road vehicle traffic. Grama-grass cactus populations have often been quickly depleted by cactus collectors. Fairly tall grama-grass cactus plants may be common in ungrazed areas, but under moderate grazing intensities pplants are often trampled and taller plants are less frequent. Soil compaction due to grazing is also a problem since most grama-grass cactus seedlings are found on loose soil. Light grazing may open the grass cover and facilitate seedling establishment, whereas more intense grazing reduces grass cover and exposes grama-grass cactus to increased predation by small herbivores. Also, the loss of grass cover results in increased erosion of topsoil and accelerates the loss of potential sites for seedling establishment [11].


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS : Grama-grass cactus is a native stem succulent with solitary stems 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.5 cm) tall and 0.4 to 0.8 inch (1-2 cm) in diameter. It has no ribs and tubercles are elongate. Areoles are 0.04 to 0.06 inch (0.1-0.15 cm) in diameter and generally 0.12 inch (0.3 cm) apart. The spines are dense, often obscuring the surface of the stem. The central spines are up to 1.2 inches (3 cm) long and strongly flattened. Radial spines lie parallel to the stem surface and are up to 0.12 inch (0.3 cm) long. Flowers are found on new growth of the current season and are therefore near the apex of the stem. The fruit is green, often changing to tan, and is dry at maturity. The fruits are dehiscent along a dorsal slit and around the circumscissile apex [2,17]. Grama-grass cactus has fibrous roots that are 2 to 4 inches (5-10 cm) long [4]. RAUNKIAER LIFE FORM : Stem succulents REGENERATION PROCESSES : NO-ENTRY SITE CHARACTERISTICS : Grama-grass cactus is restricted to fine, sandy clay loams and red sandy soils of open flats at 5,000 to 7,200 feet (1,500-2,200 m) elevation [1,2]. It is often found on highly erodable sites [11]. Grama-grass cactus grows in or near fairy rings of blue grama, and is inconspicuous because its spines resemble dried blue grama leaves [2,17]. SUCCESSIONAL STATUS : NO-ENTRY SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
FIRE ECOLOGY OR ADAPTATIONS : Specific information concerning adaptations that grama-grass cactus may have for survival following fire is not available in the literature. Its small stature and the fact that it often occurs in or near clumps of grama may make it particularly vulnerable to destruction by fire. Grama grass cactus may survive fire mainly in refugia. Thomas [14] cited references suggesting that fire intervals in desert grasslands may be 3 to 40 years. FIRE REGIMES: Find fire regime information for the plant communities in which this species may occur by entering the species name in the FEIS home page under "Find Fire Regimes". POSTFIRE REGENERATION STRATEGY : NO-ENTRY


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
IMMEDIATE FIRE EFFECT ON PLANT : The imediate effect of fire on grama-grass cactus is unknown [15]. Grama-grass cactus is probably killed by even light fires. Succulents in general rarely actually burn, but spines may ignite and flames are then carried to the apex. The cactus body may scorch and blister without pyrolysis. The primary cause of mortality is death of the photosynthetic tissue and underlying phloem and cambium. Cacti may appear completely scorched with no green tissue visible, yet may survive fire. However, fire can cause delayed mortality in small succulents such as grama-grass cactus. Removal of spines by fire also increases subsequent herbivory [14]. Some succulents survive fire in refugia or if the litter surrounding them is sparse [5,14]. DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF FIRE EFFECT : NO-ENTRY PLANT RESPONSE TO FIRE : NO-ENTRY DISCUSSION AND QUALIFICATION OF PLANT RESPONSE : NO-ENTRY FIRE MANAGEMENT CONSIDERATIONS :


SPECIES: Pediocactus papyracanthus
REFERENCES : 1. Anon. 1992. Handbook of Arizona's endangered, threatened, and candidate plants. Summer 1992. [Place of publication unknown]: [Publisher unknown]. 57 p. On file with: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT. [20963] 2. Benson, Lyman. 1982. The cacti of the United States and Canada. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press. 1044 p. [1513] 3. Bernard, Stephen R.; Brown, Kenneth F. 1977. Distribution of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians by BLM physiographic regions and A.W. Kuchler's associations for the eleven western states. Tech. Note 301. Denver, CO: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management. 169 p. [434] 4. Britton, N. L.; Rose, J. N. 1963. The Cactaceae. Vol. 3. New York: Dover Publications, Inc. 258 p. [22644] 5. Cable, Dwight R. 1973. Fire effects in southwestern semidesert grass-shrub communities. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. Number 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 109-127. [4338] 6. Eyre, F. H., ed. 1980. Forest cover types of the United States and Canada. Washington, DC: Society of American Foresters. 148 p. [905] 7. Garrison, George A.; Bjugstad, Ardell J.; Duncan, Don A.; [and others]. 1977. Vegetation and environmental features of forest and range ecosystems. Agric. Handb. 475. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 68 p. [998] 8. Kearney, Thomas H.; Peebles, Robert H.; Howell, John Thomas; McClintock, Elizabeth. 1960. Arizona flora. 2d ed. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. 1085 p. [6563] 9. Kuchler, A. W. 1964. Manual to accompany the map of potential vegetation of the conterminous United States. Special Publication No. 36. New York: American Geographical Society. 77 p. [1384] 10. Raunkiaer, C. 1934. The life forms of plants and statistical plant geography. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 632 p. [2843] 11. Spellenberg, Richard. 1993. Species of special concern. In: Dick-Peddie, William A., ed. New Mexico vegetation: Past, present, and future. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press: 179-224. [21101] 12. Stickney, Peter F. 1989. Seral origin of species originating in northern Rocky Mountain forests. Unpublished draft on file at: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory, Missoula, MT; RWU 4403 files. 7 p. [20090] 13. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 1992. Special plant list: January 31, 1992. Austin, TX: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Texas Natural Heritage Program. 29 p. [20507] 14. Thomas, P. A. 1991. Response of succulents to fire: a review. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 1(1): 11-22. [14991] 15. Thomas, P. A.; Goodson, P. 1992. Conservation of succulents in desert grasslands managed by fire. Biological Conservation. 60(2): 91-100. [19894] 16. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. 1982. National list of scientific plant names. Vol. 1. List of plant names. SCS-TP-159. Washington, DC. 416 p. [11573] 17. Weniger, D. 1970. Cacti of the Southwest. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press. 249 p. [22645] 18. Arp, Gerald. 1972. A revision of Pediocactus. Cactus & Succulent Journal. 44(5): 218-222. [22646]