Exploring California’s Native Cacti: A Guide to Different Types of Cactus

California is home to a variety of cactus species, particularly in its desert regions. Here are some common types of cacti that can be found in California:

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

The beavertail cactus is named for its flat, oval-shaped pads that resemble a beaver’s tail. It features vibrant pink or purple flowers that bloom in the spring.

Fishhook Cactus (Mammillaria species)

Fishhook cacti are small, globular cacti that have curved spines resembling fishhooks. They come in various species, including the common fishhook cactus (Mammillaria dioica) and the bishop’s cap cactus (Mammillaria bocasana).

Golden Barrel Cactus (Echinocactus grusonii)

The golden barrel cactus is a popular ornamental cactus known for its round shape and golden spines. It can reach impressive sizes and produces bright yellow flowers.

Pincushion Cactus (Escobaria species)

Pincushion cacti are small, cylindrical cacti with dense clusters of spines. They come in several species, including the bishop’s cap cactus (Escobaria vivipara) and the silver lace cactus (Escobaria albicolumnaria).

Prickly Pear Cactus (Opuntia)

Prickly pear cacti are found throughout California and are known for their flat, paddle-shaped pads. They produce showy flowers and edible fruits, known as tunas.

These are just a few examples of the cactus species that can be found in California. The state’s diverse geography and climate provide a range of habitats for different types of cacti to thrive.