Opuntia pachyrrhiza 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Magnoliopsida Caryophyllales Cactaceae

Scientific Name: Opuntia pachyrrhiza
Species Authority: H.M.Hern., Gómez-Hin. & Bárcenas
Taxonomic Notes: Hunt et al. (2006) treat O. pachyrriza as being conspecific with O. megarrhiza, but that treatment is not followed here and the two species are assessed separately.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2009-11-18
Assessor(s): Hernández, H.M., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C. & Goettsch, B.K.
Reviewer(s): Chanson, J.S.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Hilton-Taylor, C.
This species qualifies as Endangered because it has a small extent of occurrence (ca 4,500 km²), its population is severely fragmented, the quality of its habitat is expected to decline in the long term due to the intensification of human activities, and there is a reduction in the number of individuals due to collecting for medicinal use.
Previously published Red List assessments:
2002 Vulnerable (VU)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species occurs on the summits of La Trinidad and El Azul mountain ranges, in San Luis Potosí, at one locality in Querétaro, and also in Nuevo León, Mexico. The species is known from twenty localities.
Countries occurrence:
Mexico (Nuevo León, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 1000
Number of Locations: 20
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is less than 10,000 mature individuals. The population is split into three discrete subpopulations.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Population severely fragmented: Yes

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is found in areas of disturbed grassland and chaparral of Quercus striatula and Agave asperrima on the tops of mountains. The soils are relatively deep-dark clay, with limestone outcrops.

The cladodes of this species die back in the winter months and regrow in the spring, this is an adaptation to freezing and the impacts of fires.
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Plants are harvested as the rhizomes are used for medicinal purposes as an anti-inflammatory to treat broken bones.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The natural vegetation is almost totally modified, due to livestock raising. The species is under some pressure due to its medicinal uses.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species is listed on CITES Appendix II. It occurs (45% of the known subpopulations) within a decreed protected area (Area Natural Protegida del Real de Guadalcázar). The effective conservation of this area would ensure the survival of the species. The medicinal value of the species has to be verified through scientific research. Its possible utilization could lead to its conservation through management.

Citation: Hernández, H.M., Gómez-Hinostrosa, C. & Goettsch, B.K. 2013. Opuntia pachyrrhiza. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T41218A2952171. . Downloaded on 27 November 2015.
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