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Curator of Living Collections, Research Botanist


Raul Puente-Martinez, M.S.

M.S. Arizona State University, 2002

  • Email: rpuente[at]dbg.org
  • Phone:
    480 481.8110

Research Interests

  • Systematics of the subfamily Opuntioideae (Cactaceae) in northern Mexico
  • Opuntia and Nopalea systematic and biogeography
  • Hybridization in the pricklypears
  • Ethnobotany of pricklypears in Mexico
  • Sustainability and landscape use of desert plants

Personal Statement

I divide my time at the Desert Botanical Garden as the Curator of Living Collections and as a Research Botanist. I am responsible for curatorial aspects such as plant acquisition, maintaining the database and mapping of the gardens’ Living Collection. My main research interest has been the systematics of the genus Opuntia (pricklypears) in northern Mexico, particularly in the states of San Luis Potosi, Coahuila and Sonora. I am also working on a taxonomic revision of the genus Nopalea, a unique group of tropical prickly pears from Mexico and Central America which are pollinated by hummingbirds. My studies are based on fieldwork as well as morphology, chromosome numbers and pollen morphology, among other techniques. As a collaborator for the Vascular Plants of Arizona project, I have written various family treatments as well as done a number of plant illustrations.

Selected Publications

Baker, M., J. Rebman, B. Parfitt, D. Pinkava, C. Christy, A. Salywon, R. Puente, Zimmerman & J. H. Cota. 2009.  Chromosome numbers of miscellaneous angiosperm taxa. J. Bot. Res. Inst. Texas 3(1): 279-283.

Hernandez-Hernandez, T., H. Hernandez, J. A. De-Nova, R. Puente, L.E. Eguiarte and S. Magallon. 2011. Phylogenetic relationships and evolution of growth form in Cactaceae (Caryophyllales, Eudicotyledoneae. Amer. Journ. Bot. 98(1): 44-61.

Puente, R. 2006. Hummingbirds and prickly pears: flower adaptations in the genus Nopalea (Cactaceaea). The Sonoran Quarterly June 2006. Vol. 60(2): 4-6p

Puente, R. & C. Hamann. 2005. A new hybrid prickly pear from Coahuila, Mexico: Opuntia xcarstenii hyb. nov. (Cactaceae). Cact. & Succ. Journ. (US). 77(5): 2-10

Puente-Martinez, R. et al. 2003. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Lamiaceae, Part I. Journ. of Az-Nev. Acad. of Sc. 35(2):151-169

Puente-Martinez, R. and T. F. Daniels. 2001. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Garryaceae. Journal of Arizona-Nevada Acad. of Sc. 33(1):31-34

Puente-Martinez, R. and R. B. Faden. 2001. Vascular Plants of Arizona: Commelinaceae. Journal of Arizona-Nevada Acad. of Sc. 33(1):31-34

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The night blooming cactus are beginning to flower. Pictured is an Easter Lily (Echinopsis sp.), which can be found throughout the Garden.

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