Page authors: Don Knoke, David Giblin
Pediocactus nigrispinus
dark-spine ball cactus, snowball cactus

Distribution: Occurring east of the Cascades crest in central Washington; central Washington to southeastern Oregon, east to western Idaho.

Habitat: Lowland to montane sagebrush desert, grasslands, and coniferous forests.

Flowers: April-July

Origin: Native

Growth Duration: Perennial

Conservation Status: Sensitive in Washington (WANHP)


Fleshy perennials, the stems globose and depressed, single or in clumps, 7-12 cm. thick.


Plants leafless; stems covered with tubercles 12-25 mm. long, in 8-13 spiral rows; stems with 8-12. straight central spines 8-25 mm. long, and 10-30 smaller marginal spines.


Flowers solitary near the tip of a tubercle, 1.5-2 cm. long, red-violet to yellowish-green; sepals, petals and stamens numerous, all joined at the base; ovary inferior, 1-celled.


Fruit sub-globose, 6-8 mm. long.

Accepted Name:
Pediocactus nigrispinus (Hochstätter) Hochstätter
Publication: Succulenta (Netherlands). 71: 99. 1992. 1992.

Synonyms & Misapplications:
Pediocactus simpsonii (Engelm.) Britton & Rose, misapplied [FNA4, HC, HC2]
ssp. nigrispinus – dark-spine ball cactus    Occurring east of the Cascades crest in central Washington; central Washington to central and northeastern Oregon, east to adjacent western Idaho.
Additional Resources:

PNW Herbaria: Specimen records of Pediocactus nigrispinus in the Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria database.

WA Flora Checklist: Pediocactus nigrispinus checklist entry.

E-Flora BC: Pediocactus nigrispinus atlas page.

CalPhotos: Pediocactus nigrispinus photos.

USDA Plants: Pediocactus nigrispinus information.

72 photographs:
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