• Strike Valley and the Waterpocket Fold

    Capitol Reef

    National Park Utah

Cacti

Common Pricklypear

NPS

Common Names: Central Pricklypear

Scientific Name: Opuntia polyacantha

Size (height): 4-12 in (10-30.5 cm) tall; clumps may spread 8-10 ft (2.5-3 m) wide

Habitat: Widespread throughout the park in mixed desert shrub, sagebrush, pinyon-juniper, and mixed conifer communities.

Flowering Season: May - June

Range: Utah, Nevada to Oklahoma and north to Canada

Description: Central pricklypear is a mat forming cactus with jointed stems and moderately flattened oval to circular pads that are up to 5 in (13 cm) long and equally wide. The specific name polyacantha means "many spines" which describes the surface of the pads. The flowers are 1.5-3.5 in (3.8 -8.9 cm) wide and yellow, orange, pink, or violet.

 
Whipple's Fishhook

NPS

Common Names: Whipple's Fishhook Cactus

Scientific Name: Sclerocactus whipplei

Size (height & diameter): 2-12 in (5-30.5 cm) tall, 2-6 in (5-15 cm) diameter

Habitat: Found throughout the park in desert grasslands, mixed desert shrub, and pinyon juniper woodland communities.

Flowering Season: April - July

Range: Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada

Description: Whipple's fishhook cactus was named for the 0.5-3 in (1.3-7.6 cm) long spines that are hooked at the tip like a fishhook. The flowers are up to 2 in (5 cm) wide and typically pink, white, or yellow.

 
Claretcup

NPS

Common Names: Claret Cup

Scientific Name: Echinocereus triglochidiatus

Size (height & diameter): Stems are 1.8-27.6 in (3-70 cm) tall, 2-5.1 in (5-13 cm) in diameter

Habitat: Found throughout the park in mixed desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities.

Flowering Season: April - June

Range: Utah, Colorado, Arizona, Texas, and New Mexico

Description: Claret cup typically forms a rounded clump with several tubular stems each about 3-6 in (7.6-15.2 cm) tall and 1.5-2.5 in (3.8-6.4 cm) wide with vertical ribs. It has very showy scarlet red flowers that grow from the top of each stem, usually in a small cluster. Fruits are small and bright red at maturity. Flowers are primarily pollinated by hummingbirds.

Did You Know?

Two cars passing in Capitol Gorge, Circa 1939

Metal bars supporting telephone lines were installed in Capitol Gorge in 1911 providing telephone service to the ranching community east of Capitol Reef National Park. State Highway 24 was an unpaved road through Capitol Gorge until 1962, when it was re-routed along the Fremont River and paved.