Pediocactus bradyi

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Pediocactus bradyi
Pediocactus bradyi fh 055 AZ in cultur B.jpg
Conservation status

Critically Imperiled (NatureServe)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Genus: Pediocactus
Species: P. bradyi
Binomial name
Pediocactus bradyi
L.D.Benson

Pediocactus bradyi is a rare species of cactus known by the common names Brady's pincushion cactus, Brady's hedgehog cactus, and Marble Canyon cactus. It is endemic to Arizona in the USA, where it is restricted to Marble Canyon in Coconino County.[1][2] It is limited to a specific type of soil, it has a small distribution, and the species is threatened by a number of human activities.[1] This has been a federally listed endangered species of the United States since 1979.

This cactus is globose, tubercular, and usually solitary. It is up to about 6 centimeters tall by 5 wide. Each areole has some wool and several slightly curved yellowish to white spines up to half a centimeter long. There are occasionally one or two central spines which are darker in color. The cactus flowers in the early spring. The flower is up to roughly 2 centimeters long by 3 wide and has red or green-striped yellowish outer tepals and straw-colored inner tepals. The fruit is green ripening red-brown and about a centimeter long.[3] The cactus shrinks and retracts under the ground during the dry season, making it very hard to find.[4] The related cacti Pediocactus winkleri and Pediocactus despainii are sometimes included as subspecies of P. bradyi.[3]

The cactus grows on sandstone and shale land originating from the Moenkopi Formation, a geologic formation.[1] This rock is covered in chips and gravel of Kaibab limestone, forming the plant's substrate.[1] It is not found in any other soil types.[4] It grows alongside plants such as shadscale (Atriplex confertifolia), snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), and Mormon tea (Ephedra viridis).[1]

This plant was listed as an endangered species because of many threats, including highway construction and maintenance, off-road vehicle use, cattle grazing, and poaching. Natural threats to the species include frost heaving. The small population size limited in distribution makes it vulnerable to extinction.[4]

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