SB330 Sandoval County, New Mexico,
population has very long
are brown with the new
growth of a
bright red colour, the
are short and pure white.
Solitary, or slowly branching.
Dark green, 2.5-20 cm tall and 1-2 cm in diameter. It has no ribs
and tubercles are
Stem anatomy: The
stele is particularly thin, usually 2 mm or
less in diameter, without
vascular system. Large
mucilage cells occur in the tubercles and in the
cortex, but are
not present in the
Tissues which have
mucilage cells are
conspicuously slimy when freshly cut.
Areoles : 0.1-0.15 cm in diameter at the summits of the
tubercles, and generally 0.3 cm apart.
homologous with spines, are frequently on the
adaxial sides of areoles which do not produce flowers
Central spines usually 1-2 (occasionally 3-4), strongly
flattened, flexible, grooved, twisted,
papery in texture, 1.8-3.8 long. often obscuring the surface
of the stem.
Radial spines parallel to the stem surface, 6-8 per
cluster, ashy-white, 3.0 mm long.
Flower: On the new growth of the current
season near the apex of the stem. Whitish,
bell-shaped, with a
midstripe, 1.8-2.5 cm wide.
Green, often changing to tan, spherical, 1.2-2.0 cm long,
maturity along a
dorsal slit and around the
Seeds: Black, covered with minute bumps, irregularly oval in shape,
slightly flattened, and 2.5 mm long.
Fibrous 5-10 cm long
are no recognized
The flowers are whitish to pale yellowish appear on
the new growth of the current season near the apex.
New spines in spring
A plant in winter.
Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of Toumeya
"In a valley between the lower hills near Santa Fe in loose sandy red
HT: MO. Fendler, 15 May 1847
papyracantha Engelmann, Mem.
Amer. Acad. II, 4:49, 1849.
Distribution: USA, Arizona (Southern portion
of Navajo County, Apache County)
New Mexico (southeast Rio Arriba
County and McKinley County to
Grant and Dona Ana counties) Texas (Hudspeth County) Colorado and
Mexico. T. papyracantha is
inconspicuous and probably irregular in occurrence; it may be
more widespread than presently known.
Conservation status: Listed in
Quite abundant, at least in parts of range (6-20
globally reported), but now sharply reduced due to degradation of
collection and development. It is imperilled and vulnerable to
extinction, But its highly
inconspicuous nature makes it a difficult species to locate and
Paperspine fishhook cactus,
- Pediocactus papyracanthus (Engelm.)
Cact. and Succ. Jour. 34(2): 61. 1962.
- Mammillaria papyracantha
Published in: Mem. Amer.
Acad. Arts, n.s. 4: 49. 1849.
- Sclerocactus papyracanthus (Engelm.)
- Toumeya papyracanthus Britton
- Echinocactus papyracanthus
name "Toumeya" commemorates Dean James W.
Toumey (New Mexico) who was also honoured by Britton & Rose,
whose work benefited from Toumey’s fieldwork and
collections of cactus
"papyracantha" derives from
the greek word
" papyrus (Cyperus papyrus); paper "
and from “acantha (ακανϑα)”
that means “thorn, spine"
(The specific name implies:
Habitat: Grows in open flats in pinyon-juniper
woodlands, great Plains
grassland, and Chihuahuan
Desert grassland. At an
elevation of 1500 - 2300 m. Restricted to fine,
clay loams and red sandy soils; rarely
gypseous; often on highly erodable sites.
It is almost always found
associated in or near tufts or fairy rings of blue grama grass (Bouteloua
gracilis) where it is seldom seen thanks to its excellent
camouflage because the
papery spines resemble dried
leaves. T. papyracantha demonstrate the
microclimate variation for cactus
in fact this plant depends upon the favourable microclimate provided
by grama grass to survive.
Stems usually shrink during
seasons, leaving only the
papery spines visible above ground.
Toumeya papyracantha Locality: Snowflake, Arizona 1700 m.
The plant from Snowflake have shorter pale brown spines, bent upwards
moderate watering, because excess of water causes mature
individuals to rot and die, especially after transplanting.
Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.
Cultural Practices: Needs a very
Frost Tolerance: Very
frost hardy, above approx -12° C.
Temperature for optimum
germination: night minimum approx 17 day maximum,
up to nearly 40
C, at any time of year with proper temperatures and
daylength (ca.13-14 hours); it is possible to extend
artificial lights. Anyway the seeds
germinate slowly with extreme difficulty and a low rate of
stratification help, alternately
thaw both wet and dry, but don’t keep wet, alternate wet and
dry with changing temperatures. Germination can take several
years, so keep pot and try again next year. Seedlings do not do
well either, and some die each year, for this reason
plants are commonly
grafted on hardy stocks like
In this case
they are easy to grow and no special skill is required.