Mountain-Prairie Region

Pirette Cactus

Photo by Ben Franklin

The pariette cactus has been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act  since 2007.

Species Description: Pariette cactus (Sclerocactus brevispinus) is a barrel-shaped cactus that ranges from 2.5 to 8 centimeters (cm) (1.0 to 3.1 inches (in.)) tall. Pariette cactus is a morphologically unique Sclerocactus, with flowering adults that are much smaller than either S. glaucus or S. wetlandicus. Pariette cactus has stems with typically 13 ribs that extend from the ground to the tip of the plant. Along the ribs are areoles (small, cushion-like areas) with hooked spines. There are three types of spines, radial and central, defined by the size and position on the plant (74 FR 47112). The 5 to 13 radial spines are located around the margin of the areole, extending in a plane parallel to the body of the plant. The radial spines are white or gray to light brown, and are 5 to 15 millimeters (mm) (0.2 to 0.6 in.) long. The 0 to 3 central spines are 2 to 5 mm (0.08 to 0.2 in.) long and extend from the center of the areole. The central spines include abaxial and lateral forms. Abaxial spines are typically single and are strongly hooked with the tip almost touching the surface of the areole. Lateral spines are usually absent, but when present are on either side of the abaxial spine, are more or less straight without the obvious bend or hook, and form an acute angle with the abaxial spine (usually 20 to 50 degrees).

The bell-shaped flowers usually have pink tepals (petal-like flower parts not differentiated into petals and sepals) and yellow stamens (the male reproductive organ of the flower), and are 1 to 1.5 cm (0.4 to 0.6 in.) long and 1.2 to 3 cm (0.4 to 1.2 in.) wide (74 FR 47112). The fruit is short, barrel-shaped, reddish or reddish grey when ripe, 7 to 12 mm (0.3 to 0.5 in.) wide, and 9 to 25 mm (0.35 to 1.0 in.) long.

Location: Pariette cactus is restricted to one population in a 29,000-hectare (ha) (72,000-acre (ac)) area located in the Pariette Draw along the Duchesne-Uintah County boundary. Land ownership within the range of the species includes Bureau of and Management (BLM), Ute Tribe, State of Utah, and private land, with the majority of the species’ known population occurring on BLM and Ute Tribal lands. Some individuals have been found in marginal habitats outside of the main population areas. More information is needed to better map the species’ range in these areas.

Threats:  At the time of the original listing of the Uinta Basin hookless cactus complex, ongoing and foreseeable threats included mineral and energy development, illegal collection, recreational off-road vehicle use, and grazing.

Recent Actions:  In April 2010, we completed a recovery outline for the species. This document lays out a preliminary course of action for the recovery of the pariette cactus. It serves to guide recovery efforts and inform consultation and permitting activities.

On September 18, 2007, we announced in the Federal Register a 12-month finding on a petition to list Sclerocactus brevispinus (Pariette cactus) as an endangered or threatened species under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended.

On December 14, 2006, we announced in the Federal Register (71 FR 75215) our finding that the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing the pariette cactus may be warranted.

Pariette cactus Factsheet

More information can be found on the Service's ECOS webpage

Last updated: August 16, 2012