A Review of
the Distribution of the
Native Cacti of Canada*

with Contributor's Notes

by Ken Hancock
(Ottawa Area Cactus and Succulent Group)

A Review of the Distribution of the Native Cacti of Canada


HOW TO ORDER A COPY OF THE 2002 EDITION

The following is an excerpt from the introductory section.

Canada's Cacti Genera and Species

This Review confirms that there are two cacti genera indigenous to Canada namely:

Escobaria (Pin Cushion cactus)
Opuntia (Prickly Pear cactus)

A single Escobaria is confirmed, namely:

Escobaria vivipara (Prairie Pin Cushion)

In additon, Escobaria missouriensis was reported in 1961 by Hitchcock et al. (See Ref. 4), but has not been located since, despite much searching. It is likely therefore that Escobaria vivipara is the sole Escobaria native to Canada today.

Please note, until a recent taxonomic change, Escobaria vivipara and Escobaria missouriensis were known as Coryphantha vivipara and Coryphantha missouriensis respectively.

On the other hand three species of Opuntia have been located and identified, namely:

Opuntia fragilis (Brittle Prickly Pear)
Opuntia humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear)
Opuntia polyacantha (Many-Spined or Plains Prickly Pear)

In addition a sterile Opuntia hybrid, hypothesized to be O. fragilis x O. polyacantha, has been confirmed in Canada (See Refs. 17 & 18).

Five different provinces are the home of two or more of these species of cacti. From West to East these are:

  • British Columbia: Escobaria vivipara; Opuntia fragilis; Opuntia polyacantha; the Opuntia hybrid and the currently unverified reporting of Pediocactus robustior.
  • Alberta: Escobaria vivipara; Opuntia fragilis; and Opuntia polyacantha.
  • Saskatchewan: Escobaria vivipara; Opuntia fragilis; and Opuntia polyacantha.
  • Manitoba: Escobaria vivipara; Opuntia fragilis; and Opuntia polyacantha.
  • Ontario: Opuntia humifusa and Opuntia fragilis.

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*Copyright © 1998 by Ken Hancock


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