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Echinocereus bonkerae and A. parryi

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Echinocereus bonkerae and A. parryi

Postby peterb » Tue Feb 02, 2010 2:23 pm

On the drive back from Santa Fe, I decided to take Route 60 from Socorro across the plains of San Augustin, past the Very Large Array radio observatory, up over the Continental Divide at Pie Town, and then through Show Low to the Salt River Canyon. Grusonia clavata in Socorro:

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Opuntia macrocentra near the northern edge of its range, also in Socorro. Interesting to see it growing with the more Northern NM forms of O. phaeacantha, where the ranges overlap:

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On the left, a standard O. phaeacantha. On the right, soemthing else, not sure what, followed by a close up.
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In the Salt River Canyon:
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West of the canyon I hiked around a bit in what was essentially a mud bog.

Tiny Opuntia:
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A couple very tidy Escobaria vivipara:
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A majestic, very old juniper with very rough bark. Do alligator junipers grow in this area?
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The cool find was Echinocereus bonkerae. I'm surprised to see it's a separate species now, again, after 80 years of being shuttled around under fendleri, fasciculatus and engelmannii. At first I thought these looked like dasyacanthus but of course dasyacanthus doesn't grow in AZ at 6000 feet. :-)

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Shows clearly how unbelievably muddy and wet it was:
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Some were shaggier than others:
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The other truly stunning plant in this area is Agave parryi. Is this a particular variety or just the species? I am woefully ignorant of Agave. But these plants are dazzlers.

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Look forward to heading up there to get some bonkerae flower pics this spring. The flowers are truly incredible, large and magenta/purple.

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Postby Harriet » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:12 pm

What a drive! Funny how when I see a picture of a cactus (especially habitat photos) I think it is hot and dry. It is almost jarring to see the snow!

The agave is a really nice variety, whatever it is...

Thanks for the trip!
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Postby Tony » Tue Feb 02, 2010 3:17 pm

Thanks Peter man, great stuff!
Really cool to see the E. bonkerae. 8)
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Postby Saguaro123 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:27 am

Very cool habitat shots, thanks for sharing. :)
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Postby peterb » Wed Feb 03, 2010 12:34 am

Glad you appreciate the photos. it's so great to get out into habitat again after a few months of not getting out much. I always feel lucky to live where I do and to have the time to get around. I have so many trips planned for this spring that I might just have to quit my job. :-)

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Postby CoronaCactus » Wed Feb 03, 2010 5:37 am

Great pics man!
OMG G. lavata TFS
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Postby iann » Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:59 am

Have you seen the E. apachensis plants? Some consider them just E. bonkerae with long centrals?
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Postby peterb » Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:37 pm

Huh, that's an interesting possibility. Very shaggy bonkerae=apachensis. I went up through part of the Superstitions a while ago and was most impressed by how variable the Echinocereus are up there.

I guess many of the Echinocereus in this thread are apachensis?:

viewtopic.php?t=12545&

But I don't have a very clear concept of apachensis.

I guess the broadest concept would be to call everything engelmannii, period, including everything that's not fendleri or triglochidiatus.

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Postby iann » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:16 pm

E. engelmannii/fasciculatus is tetraploid and E. bonkerae/apachensis diploid. This is a good sign that they aren't part of the same species. E. fendleri is also diploid but I don't think anyone really thinks E. bonkerae is the same thing any more. While tetraploid and diploid plants can cross, the results are almost never diploid so, for example, E. bonkerae plants cannot be part of a breeding complex involving E. engelmannii plants.

Tetraploids can be formed by crossing two diploids but this isn't thought to be a major source of tetraploids in cacti, at least not within the time that the family has existed as a coherent group. It is thought that Echinocereus are all descended from tetraploid plants and that some have reverted to diploids. Unfortunately, how this occurs isn't well understood so its hard to infer much from it. It could be that the many instances of very similar diploid and tetraploid Echinocereus are due to fairly recent diploidisation of ancient tetraploid forms. Or it may just be coincidental.
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Postby peterb » Wed Feb 03, 2010 2:33 pm

ah, that chromosome info would point to maintaining the separation. I actually do see more similarity between fendleri and bonkerae especially in flower characters than engelmannii/fasciculatus and bonkerae.
E. fendleri spines are notoriously variable.

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Postby angelo » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:04 pm

exceptional report as always Pietro, are the bonkerae in great form to judge from the spines, does it seem that they have not suffered the rains or that zone it is very rainy?
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Postby iann » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:07 pm

E. fendleri spines are notoriously variable.


I find E. fendleri very distinctive but that's from an extremely limited subset in cultivation.
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Postby daiv » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:21 pm

I think the name "E. bonkerae" ought to be kept simply because it is fun to say! :happy7:

Seriously, Peter I'm loving your ongoing habitat excursions and I must comment on the Escobaria. How very different that is from the ones we've been looking at. Do you have any inkling as to a possible subspecies/variety on that one?
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Postby daiv » Thu Feb 04, 2010 4:24 pm

By the way, I found this distribution map for Juniperis deppeana:

http://www.mpcer.nau.edu/pjwin/assets/M ... blowup.jpg

I think you got it right on that one.
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Postby peterb » Thu Feb 04, 2010 5:10 pm

Angelo, I think they will look very different in spring. They were rather shriveled up, I'm assuming as a result of winter dormancy. This area was saturated with water from recent snows.

Daiv, the vivipara in those two cases did strike me as particularly nice, very compact and with tighter spines. There was another vivipara there that fit neomexicana to a T, I'll post a pic later when I get home. I'm not sure, but I don't think this particular region has any localized varieties of vivipara. Younger vivipara neomexicana can sometimes seem quite compact like this, only developing shaggier spines later on.

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