Listings: Endangered, Federal Endangered Species Act; CITES Appendix II; Highly Safeguarded, Arizona
The Plant’s Story
The small range of this cactus (350 square miles) encompasses desert grasslands between 2300’ and 5000’ in Sonora, Mexico and in Pima and Santa Cruz Counties in Arizona. Even in these regions, they are very sparsely distributed. Urban development is the primary threat to this cactus. Since its listing as endangered in 1993, several residential and retail developments have been constructed where Pima pineapple cactus made its home. Residential and retail developments affect more land than the actual footprint of the homes and yards; drainage effects can be substantial. The increasing human presence causes ancillary effects such as hiking, biking, ATV use, and pet incursions as well as introduction of non-native plant species. The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix and the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson have been actively involved in the conservation of this species. ASDM has recently been engaged by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct the Pima pineapple cactus’s monitoring on an ongoing basis on lands set aside specifically for its habitat.
The Artist’s Story: Joan McGann
The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum and the Desert Museum Art Institute in Tucson are unique in that they are a botanical garden, a zoo, a natural history museum and research facility as well as a center for natural history art. Museum staff made their live collections of rare plant species available to me. I was allowed to sketch in the plant nursery and photograph the plant on several different occasions. They kept me apprised of the budding and blooming activity so that the flower could be studied, sketched and photographed.
More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.