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Beavertail Cactus

Natural History

Beavertail Cactus is a member of the Cactus Family and is named after the shape of the pads which resemble a beavers tail. It grows to two feet in height and features oval, grayish green pads to a foot in length. New pads grow mostly from the bases of old ones. As a result the plant typically grows in clumps to 6 feet in diameter. The Beavertail grows in sandy or gravelly soils in desert areas between 200 - 4000 feet.

Though the Beavertail Cactus does not have regular spines, it does have glochids (small, hair-like barbed spines that are very sharp and brittle, and very easily detached).

The plant typically blooms between March - May and produces pink to magenta flowers to 3 inches in width, followed by an oval fruit to 1 inch in length. Fruits and pads of the cactus were eaten by Native Americans.

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