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  Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society


Thursday March 4, 2021  7:00 pm

Presented by Root Gorelick, Professor of Biology - Cactus Biology

"Cacti of Anthony Gap"
Several Free $25 Door Prizes were awarded

Note this meeting was a Virtual Meeting using Zoom conferencing technology

This Presentation can be viewed on YouTube

I have seen spectacular cactus habitats in many countries, but, surprisingly, my favorite cactus habitat is at the New Mexico-Texas border, just north of El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, on the four-lane high-speed NM Highway 404, four miles east of I-10 and the town of Anthony. These are public lands in the Franklin Mountains: the Sierra Vista Trail on BLM lands in New Mexico and Franklin Mountains State Park in Texas. Along an old jeep track perpendicular to Highway 404, there are at least 21 species of cacti (see checklist, below). This is the only known locale in New Mexico for Coryphantha dasyacantha. Clumps of Coryphantha sneedii exist along the trail with over 100 stems. Some specimens of Glandulicactus uncinatus have 8-9 inch long spines. The largest specimens of Echinomastus intertextus I have ever seen are less than a hundred feet from the highway, with a dozen flowers open at once. There are a profusion of forms of the hybrid Echinocereus x roetteri, along with its two putative parents. I will show photos of 20 cactus species here, many in flower, plus the one natural hybrid. I will show another 5-7 taxa that are probably also here, all of which I have seen nearby, which I now need to make a concerted effort to find when I next visit Anthony Gap.

I am a professor of biology (cross-appointed in both mathematics and interdisciplinary studies) at Carleton University in Ottawa, the capital of Canada, but seem to spend most of my days living at the end of a lake in Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park. While this is boat-access (or snowmobile-access) only, 8.5 km from the nearest road, electricity is supplied by cables at the bottom of the lake, so is hardly rustic. My cactus gardens overlook the lake, so close that snapping turtles often lay eggs, digging up my cacti in the process. My cacti are now under several feet of snow. In addition to research on cacti, I study evolution of sex, philosophy of science, mathematics for quantifying diversity, and academic freedom. In the mid 1990s, I lived in Las Cruces, NM, but ironically never stumbled upon Anthony Gap until 15 years ago, as I was moving to Canada.

Cacti at Anthony Gap (21 taxa)
Coryphantha macromeris
Coryphantha dasyacantha (= Escobaria dasyacantha)
Coryphantha sneedii var. sneedii (= Escobaria sneedii var. sneedii)
Coryphantha tuberculosa (= Escobaria tuberculosa)
Coryphantha vivipara var. neomexicana (= Escobaria vivipara var. neomexicana)
Cylindropuntia imbricata
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis
Echinocactus horizonthalonius
Echinocereus coccineus var. rosei
Echinocereus dasyacanthus
Echinocereus x roetteri (= E. dasyacanthus x E. coccineus var. rosei)
Echinocereus viridiflorus var. chloranthus
Echinomastus intertextus
Epithelantha micromeris
Ferocactus wislizeni
Glandulicactus uncinatus var. wrightii
Mammillaria lasiacantha
Opuntia engelmannii
Opuntia macrocentra
Opuntia phaeacantha (= Opuntia camanchica)
Opuntia tortispina

Nearby cacti that are probably also at Anthony Gap (5 taxa)
Coryphantha robustispina
Echinocereus fendleri
Echinocereus stramineus
Mammillaria heyderi
Mammillaria meiacantha

Nearby cacti that may also be at Anthony Gap (2 taxa)
Coryphantha (= Escobaria) sneedii var. organensis (= orcuttii)
Mammillaria grahamii

Please join this Zoom program and enjoy a great presentation from Root Gorelick. It will be very educational and informational. Also be sure to sign up for a free door prize ticket. You can win a $25.00 gift certificate from TCSS that can be used at various locations or you can get a free copy of the new, 3rd edition of the field guide.

Coryphantha sneedii (28 Feb 2020)

Echinomastus intertextus (11 March 2020)

Glandulicactus uncinatus var. wrightii and Coryphantha sneedii (28  Feb 2020)

Mammillaria lasiacantha (11 March 2020)