Opuntia acanthocarpa subsp. ganderi C. B. Wolf 1938,0. ganderi
(C. B. Wolf) Rebman & Pinkava 1996 Cylindropuntia ganderi var. catavinensis Rebman 2001
Plants shrubby with strict, upward curving branches, 0.5-1.5 m (20-59 in) high. Stem segments firmly attached, green, 520 cm (2-7.9 in) long, 1.7-4.5 cm (0.7-1.8 in) in diameter, with prominent, somewhat ribbed tubercles. Areoles with yellow to tan wool, becoming gray with age, elliptical. Glochids yellow to rusty, 0.5-6 mm (to 0.2 in) long. Spines 1128, on most areoles, somewhat obscuring the stems, white to reddish, becoming darker with age, round or flattened in cross section, spreading to erect, 2-3.5 cm (0.8-1.4 in) long; sheaths white to yellow, baggy. Flowers greenish yellow. Fruits burlike, yellowish, drying tan, globose. Distribution: California, and Baja California, Mexico.
Two varieties of Opuntia acanthocarpa are recognized. Variety ganderi tends to have yellow spines that age light brown; it occurs in the western edge of the Colorado phase of the Sonoran Desert and in the edge of California chaparral. Variety catavinensis has cream or pinkish orange spines that age dark gray to black; it occurs in Baja California in the Vizcaino Desert among boulders near Catavina.
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