Great Basin Naturalist


Microsite distribution and diurnal tissue temperature fluctuations were measured in Ferocactus acanthodes (barrel cactus) at its northern distribution limit in the Beaver Dam Mountains of southwestern Utah. At this location, barrel cacti were limited to south-facing slopes. Orientation (azimuth and angle) of both the cactus stem and of the apical region at the top of the cactus were nonrandom, strongly facing south. The potential adaptive significance of this orientation in minimizing apical meristematic tissue damage under low wintertime conditions and minimizing high temperature damage under summertime conditions is discussed.