Escobaria vivipara

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Escobaria vivipara
Escobaria vivipara 2004-07-25.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Escobaria
Species: E. vivipara
Binomial name
Escobaria vivipara
(Nutt.) Buxb.

Coryphantha vivipara
Mammillaria vivipara

Escobaria vivipara is a species of cactus known by several common names, including spinystar, and viviparous foxtail cactus. It is native to North America, where certain varieties can be found from Mexico to Canada. Most are limited to the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts. This is a small cactus growing to a maximum height of about 15 centimeters, often remaining smaller and oblong or spherical. It is densely covered in a mat of star-shaped arrays of straight white spines one to two and a half centimeters long. It flowers in yellow, pink, or purple blooms two to five centimeters across.[1]

Varieties include:[2]

  • E. v. var. arizonica (Arizona spinystar) - native to the desert southwest of the United States
  • E. v. var. bisbeeana (Bisbee spinystar) - native to Arizona and New Mexico
  • E. v. var. deserti (Desert spinystar) - found in the desert southwest
  • E. v. var. kaibabensis (Kaibab spinystar) - mostly limited to Arizona
  • E. v. var. neomexicana (New Mexico spinystar) - native to New Mexico and Texas
  • E. v. var. vivipara - known as far north as Manitoba


While the species presently has a broad range across the western part of North America, its distribution in the early Holocene era is known to have been a different one. From pollen core data, a portion of the prehistoric distribution of this species has been mapped; for example in the Late Wisconsin period, Escobaria vivipara occurred in the Waterman Mountains (Coconino County) of northern Arizona, (the Waterman Mountains are in SE Arizona), although the species does not occur in this location in the present time.[3]


  1. ^ Jepson Manual. 1993
  2. ^ USDA. 2009
  3. ^ C. Michael Hogan. 2009


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