Chihuahuan fishhook cactus
South New Mexico and west Texas
Unbranched cylinders, usually up to 5 inches tall and 3 inches across; sometimes larger
Grassland, scrubland, hillsides
Brownish red to orange, blooming March to May, and sometimes again in late summer
The distinctive-looking glandulicactus uncinatus cactus, the only US species of this genus, has unusually long central spines (numbering 1 to 4), the main one up to 5 inches in length, curved at the tip, and colored pale yellow. The 5 to 10 radial spines are more reddish, and the lower three are also hooked, this being a characteristic feature of the genus. Spine clusters grow from broad tubercles are arranged along 9 to 13 vertical ribs. The upper part of the tubercle is grooved, from the areole to the stem, and the grooves contain short woolly hairs. The areoles are well spaced, up to one inch apart, and the greyish green stem is clearly visible below the spines.
The deep red flowers contrast greatly with the dull green stems. The overlapping petals surround a group yellowish stamens and a pinkish-red stigma, divided into between 10 and 14 lobes. Fruits are initially green, ripening to bright red.
As the common name implies, glandulicactus uncinatus is a species of the Chihuahuan Desert, from the central portion of south New Mexico to the Big Bend area of west Texas and along the Rio Grande to Del Rio, plus an isolated population in south Texas (Starr County).