Glandulicactus uncinatus wrightii

Eagle-claw Cactus - Glandulicactus uncinatus wrightii
Pony Hills, New Mexico, USA

In March, 2015, I made a trip to the Pony Hills Petroglyph site, southwest of Cooke’s Peak, I found this cactus specimen which I have keyed to Glandulicactus uncinatus var. wrightii.  Common names for this species include Eagle-claw Cactus, Chihuahuan Fishhook Cactus, Brown-flowered Hedgehog, Texas Hedgehog, Turk’s Head Cactus, and Catclaw Cactus.  The proliferation of common names is matched by that of the scientific names given to this species including the specific name placed in the following genus: Echinocactus, Sclerocactus, Ancistrocactus, Thelocactus, Pediocactus, Ferocactus, Echinomastus, and Hamatocactus - as well as included under the specific name of mathssonii in the following genera - Echinocactus, Ferocactus, Glandulicactus, and Ancistrocactus.  Lest you simply argue that these are simply synonyms of past generations please note that there is currently significant argument over whether this cactus is properly Glandulicactus or Sclerocactus.  Perhaps I am simply venting my frustration at having to identify cactus species.

If the identification holds true, this will be a very pretty cactus to see in bloom.  When I encountered it I was struck by the “white wool” and ruby red spines against the green ribs - and its small size.  This specimen is about the diameter of a dvd.

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