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Sclerocactus glaucus "Debeque form"


Cultivation and Mail Sale
of Cacti and Succulents.

Sclerocactus glaucus (Field number: SB 1749 De Beque, Garfield County, Colorado, USA)
A plant grafted on Opuntia compressa out of doors in the rock garden.
This species does better in the garden than in the green house;  no problem for frost, rain and very humid winter season. Resistant till -20° C.

Description: S. glaucus is a ball cactus with a squat, ovoid or globular shape. Single or clumping, in groups of up to 9 green or powdery blue coloured stems, like the scientific name, They have 8-15 ribs and the rib is sometime tuberculous 4 to 30 cm tall, 4 to 9 cm in diameter.
 Spines: (0 or) 1 to 3 generally characteristic unhooked central spines, the lower ones brown, the upper ones white 1-3 cm long,; 6 to 8 radials, 5 mm long. Some specimens lack central spines or have central spines which are hooked. Red nectar glands are found above each areole.
Beautiful purplish-red flowers Purple or pink flowers, 4-5 cm in diameter, 3-4 cm long.

NOTE: The "Debeque form" has tall larger blue body with stiff spines. It grows in northern edge of distribution for this species.

wo years old Sclerocactus glaucus "De Beque form"

A mature specimen grafted on Opuntia compressa.

A plant grown outdoor
s without any sheltering.

Very strong and wild spines.



The new pubescent spines are astonishing

A nectar gland.

The basal areole have  bright red nectaries



Family: Cactaceae (Cactus Family)

Scientific name:  Sclerocactus glaucus
(J. A.Purpus ex K. Schum.)) L. Benson
Published in: Cact.
&Succt. J. (US) 38:53, 1966
"Debeque form"

Conservation status: Listed in CITES appendix 1.

Common Names include:

  • Uinta basin hookless cactus
  • Grand Mesa Purpus Cactus


  • Echinocactus glaucus (J.A. Purpus ex K. Schum.) L. Benson
  • Pediocactus glaucus (J.A. Purpus ex K. Schum.) Arp
  • Sclerocactus whipplei var. glaucus (J.A. Purpus ex K. Schum.) Welsh
  • Echinocactus subglacus
  • Sclerocactus franklinii

Garfield County, Colorado, USAOrigin: S. glaucus is very rare and highly endemic from three known population groups, is restricted to the west-central portion of Colorado (Gunnison River &Upper Colorado River ) and the Uintah Basin of north-eastern Utah. It is one of the most northern species among the genus.
Habitat:  is found scattered on gravely or rocky soils on hills, riverside and mesas of varying exposures on Salt-Desert/Grassland sites, occasionally on clayey plains. It is more abundant on south-facing exposures, and on slopes to about 5-30 percent grade; Elevation ranges from 1,300 to 1,600 meters.

Etymology: The generic name "Sclerocactus" derives from the Greek word “sclero”   meaning "hard ", "cruel” referring to the hard seed tegument or to the formidable spines, and the word “cactus” (an old genus name) ( The genus name implies: "hard cactus").
The specific name "glaucus " derives from the Greek word glaucus   meaning "bright, gleaming; greyish, bluish-green (for plants, a white bloom giving a bluish-greyish  appearance)



The nectar attracts ants

Cultivation:  This plant is very rare in cultivation, it does not do well, it is very difficult to grow its own roots. Mature individuals easily rot and die especially after planting. The seeds germinate with extreme difficulty and a low rate of success, seedling did not do well either, and more die each year. S. glaucus is extremely xerophytic and adapted to very dry soils, but plants grafted an hardy Opuntia compressa stock are very easy to grow and no special skill is required, they can stay in a non heated green house or outdoors in raised beds, terraces, window sills etc.. This cactus continues to be, a particular prize among collectors

Propagation: Seeds are extremely difficult to germinate  (only 2-3 percent of seeds germinate)Grafting is often used to speed growth rate and to create a back-up for plants in collection.

Photo of conspecific taxa, varieties, forms and cultivars of plants belonging to the sclerocactus glaucus complex (This Taxon has several synonyms (like many other cacti) with controversial varieties and subspecies, and comprises different forms, but where each form is linked to others by populations of plants with intermediate characteristics):

Photo gallery: Alphabetical listing of Cactus and Succulent pictures published in this site.

Photo gallery SCLEROCACTUS

International winter hardy cactus test

In  the years 2003-4 over one hundred people experimented the cultivation outdoors of the S. glaucus in various parts of the world.  CACTUS ART nursery sent free plants to all who accepted to join the winter test. The purpose of the test was to evaluate the resistance to  frost and the adaptability of this plant under disparate climatic conditions (from the United States to Russia, from China to the Europe) Here some photos sent by the participants to the test:

Pieter Colpaerst (Belgium)

...In the hardy cacti bed between sedum acre and mosses...

Paul Davydov
(Ontario Canada)

...with a lot of frost and snow ahead...

Joachim Saul

on a somewhat sheltered balcony not far from the centre of Berlin....
Valentin Posea

... immediately after a snowstorm... the temperatures get down in Bucharest till –15 C degrees...
Darek Raczko

..and survived the winter with no problems at all. Temperatures ranged between -15 to +14...
David Van Langen
(Texas USA)

..Here's the Sclero glaucus that is in the Lizard Pen (nice spines)....
Home | E-mail | Plant files | Mail Sale Catalogue | Links | Information | Search

All the information and photos in cactus art files are now available also in the new the Enciclopedia of Cacti. We hope you find this new site informative and useful.