or epiphytic. Stems jointed
, flattened, or fluted
, mostly leafless and variously spiny
. Leaves alternate, flat or subulate
to terete, vestigial, or entirely absent; spines, glochids (easily detached, small, bristlelike spines), and flowers always arising from cushionlike, axillary
areoles (modified short shoots
) . Flowers solitary, sessile, rarely clustered and stalked
(in Pereskia), bisexual
, rarely unisexual
or occasionally zygomorphic. Receptacle tube
(hypanthium or perianth tube) absent or short to elongate
, naked or invested with leaflike bracts, scales
, areoles, and hairs
, or spines; perianth segments usually numerous
, in a sepaloid
series. Stamens numerous, variously inserted
and tube; anthers
2-loculed, dehiscing longitudinally. Ovary (pericarpel) inferior, rarely superior, 1-loculed, with 3 to many parietal
(rarely basal) placentas; ovules usually numerous; style 1; stigmas 2 to numerous, papillate
, rarely 2-fid. Fruit juicy or dry, naked, scaly
, or spiny, indehiscent or dehiscent
, when juicy then pulp derived from often deliquescent funicles
(except in Pereskia) . Seeds usually numerous, often arillate
; embryo curved
or rarely straight; endosperm present or absent; cotyledons reduced or vestigial, rarely leaflike.
About 110 genera and more than 1000 species: temperate and tropical America; Rhipsalis baccifera (J. S. Mueller) Stearn native in tropical Africa, Madagascar, Comoros, Mascarenes, and Sri Lanka; some species of other genera now extensively naturalized in the Old World through human agency; more than 60 genera and 600 species cultivated as ornamentals or hedges in China, of which four genera and seven species more or less naturalized.
, spheric and unbranched or, if branched, then ultimately forming low clumps
or small mats. Roots diffuse
, succulent taproots
(sometimes tuberlike or massive), or in some species ultimately adventitious from bases
of branches. Stems unsegmented
, spheric, ovoid
, or cylindric
, sometimes flat-topped, tuberculate
, 1-20(-50) × 1-15 cm after sexual maturity; tubercles
conic to hemispheric or cylindric, never coalescing into ribs
, protruding conspicuously, grooved
on their adaxial
(upper) sides in sexually mature
, areoles of sexually mature plants each consisting of fertile
meristem (often woolly
) in tubercle axil and spine cluster
on tubercle apex, the two connected by a linear
isthmus (areolar extension
, often short woolly) recessed into an areolar groove
on adaxial side of tubercle (groove extends only 1/2-3/4 distance
from spine cluster to tubercle axil in C.
macromeris) ; areolar glands
present or absent; cortex and pith
or with mucilage confined to flowers and fruits. Spines 3-95 per areole, color various, needlelike (peglike in C. minima), usually differentiated into radial
and central spines; radial spines straight or curved
; central spines, when present, straight or curved (hooked
in C. robustispina), terete
, 4-55 mm.
(sometimes ± vespertine
in C. tuberculosa), borne at or near stem apex (lateral
in C. recurvata), on new growth of current
year and/or last-produced areoles of preceding year (fruiting zone in some species becoming displaced outward and downward by apical vegetative growth
after flowering), campanulate
to nearly salverform
with recurved tepals, 1-6.5 × 0.6-10 cm; outer tepals entire or fringed
; inner tepals variously colored
, never pure red or blue, 4.5-40 × 1-15 mm, often glossy, margins
, fringed, or erose; scales
on ovary none or few, narrow or rudimentary
, entire or erose, axils naked, spineless; stigma lobes
4-13, white to yellow or orange-yellow (rarely pinkish), 0.5-8 mm. Fruits indehiscent, green or red, spheric, ellipsoid
, ovoid to narrowly fusiform
, or obovoid
, 1.5-50 × 1.5-20 mm, usually juicy, sometimes slimy or fleshy
(dry in C. minima), scales usually absent (or few), spines absent; pulp colorless to white, greenish, or pinkish; floral
or deciduous. Seeds usually reddish brown or black, sometimes yellowish, reniform
, comma-shaped, obovoid, or spheric, 0.8-3.5 mm in greatest diam., shiny or glossy; testa smooth
, raised-reticulate, or pitted
; strophiole (unsclerified tissue
) small or large, flat or slightly protruding, never surrounding micropyle, replaced by a narrow raphe in some species (e.g.
, C. ramillosa) ; sclerified collar
between hilum and micropyle short, solid or grooved, nearly open in some species. x = 11.
Species 60-70: w North America, Mexico, West Indies (Cuba).
Coryphantha may be polyphyletic, or paraphyletic, with respect to Mammillaria, from which it differs primarily by the presence of an adaxial areolar groove on tubercles of sexually mature coryphanthas. Most species of Coryphantha produce a more or less apical tuft of flowers from the current growth; most mammillarias bloom in a ring from older areoles at least 1 cm from the stem apex. Coryphantha recurvata is an exception with a ring of flowers as in most species of Mammillaria. Some species in each genus display intermediate floral positions. In both genera, pitted seeds characterize putatively primitive species.
The coryphanthas with pitted seeds often are segregated as Escobaria (species numbered 8-20 here). That segregate , recognized by the International Cactaceae Systematics Group (ICSG) but not here, lacks the glands found in the areoles of typical Coryphantha. Such glands are ephemeral . The glands, occuring singly or in small groups usually at either end of each areolar groove, are spheroid or mushroom-shaped (then deeply nestled among short trichomes so appear to be hemispheric), smooth, colorful (red, green, purplish, orange, or yellow), and about 1 mm in diameter. Fallen glands leave circular gray scars .
Several species of Coryphantha closely resemble, and may be confused with, Neolloydia conoidea. Both genera have naked ovaries and grooved tubercles; however, Neolloydia has seeds like those of Ariocarpus or Lophophora. The tiny fruits of N. conoidea usually are overlooked, often leading to misidentifications . In immature plants of several genera that tend to be "ribbed" (e.g., Echinomastus), and in the adults of neotenous species, stems are tuberculate; however, the areolar extensions in those plants are shorter and/or wider than those of Coryphantha, and the tubercles usually are basally confluent , unlike the (linear) grooves and distinct tubercles of Coryphantha and Neolloydia.
As many as fourteen species of coryphanthas may occur sympatrically, with no natural hybrids dectected. Flowers may be few and ephemeral; however, identifications based on vegetative traits may be difficult because of polymorphism and age-related heteromorphic growth within populations, geographic variation within species, and parallel evolution among ecological counterparts in relatively distant lineages .
Calcium oxatate crystal aggregates (druses ) in the stem parenchyma of Coryphantha are spheric, oblong , or lens-shaped masses like grains of sand. Most druses are only 0.1-0.4 mm diam., seen best with a compound microscope and polarizing filters, but five species (species 16-20) have unusually large druses (0.5-1 mm diam.) conspicuous to the naked eye. With practice, the thick pale-looking skin associated with a several-layered and/or druse-containing stem can be recognized.
Species with specialized mucilage cells in the pith and cortex of stems are wet with tangibly and visibly viscous slime when cut open. Mucilage usually can be seen and felt in healthy living tubercles. Fresh sections feel watery or mealy in species lacking specialized mucilage cells.
A medullary vascular system (when present) is a diffuse network of fine threadlike strands of wood inside the pith at the center of the stem, within the woody vascular cylinder. Such whitish vascular strands are seen by holding a light source behind a translucently thin stem section.
Stem diameter includes the tubercles, unless otherwise stated; lesser stem diameter excludes the tubercles and is used only to define the relative size of the pith. Tubercle diameter is the maximum measurement of the cross section at midpoint between the base and apex of a tubercle. Spine thickness is measured midspine.
Flower length may be misinterpreted on flowers deeply hidden in the axils of the subtending tubercles. Accurate measurements of diameter require fully opened flowers (in some species the flower may not be fully open if the angle between the inner tepals and floral tube is less than 45º). Fruits with fully formed seeds may not be mature with respect to taxonomically important characters of fruit size and color. Ripe fruits are those that abscise easily from the plant with a gentle tug (although fruits of Coryphantha robustispina sometimes require a hard pull). A pitted seed testa is easily viewed with a hand lens . A weakly raised-reticulate seed testa is distinguishable from a smooth testa only with a lens (10× or greater magnification). A reticulate color pattern alone does not imply that the anticlinal cell walls actually protrude.
- Whittaker & Margulis,1978
- Haeckel, 1866
- Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998
- Vascular Plants
- Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Brongniart, 1843
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Takhtajan, 1967
- Perleb, 1826
- Durande, 1782 ex A.L. de Jussieu, 1789, nom. cons.
- (Engelmann) Lemaire, 1868
- Pincushion cactus [Greek coryph, head/helmet/crown, and Greek anthos, flower, referring to the apical location of flowers in contrast with the ring of lateral flowers in the related genus Mammillaria]
- Specific epithet:
- Botanical name: - Coryphantha strobiliformis
- Specific epithet: strobiliformis
- Genus: Coryphantha () - (Engelmann) Lemaire, 1868 - Pincushion cactus [Greek coryph, head/helmet/crown, and Greek anthos, flower, referring to the apical location of flowers in contrast with the ring of lateral flowers in the related genus Mammillaria]
- Tribe: Cacteae ()
- Subfamily: Cactoideae ()
- Family: Cactaceae () - Durande, 1782 ex A.L. de Jussieu, 1789, nom. cons. - cactus
- Suborder: Portulacineae ()
- Order: Caryophyllales () - Perleb, 1826
- Superorder: Caryophyllanae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Subclass: Caryophyllidae () - Takhtajan, 1967
- Class: Spermatopsida () - Brongniart, 1843
- Infraphylum: Radiatopses () - Kenrick & Crane, 1997
- Subphylum: Euphyllophytina ()
- Phylum: Tracheophyta () - Sinnott, 1935 ex Cavalier-Smith, 1998 - Vascular Plants
- Subkingdom: Viridaeplantae () - Cavalier-Smith, 1981
- Kingdom: Plantae () - Haeckel, 1866 - Plants
Members of the genus Coryphantha
ZipcodeZoo has pages for 67 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:
C. clavata (Coryphantha) · C. clavata var. radicantissima (Coryphantha) · C. compacta (Coryphantha) · C. cornifera (Rhinoceros Cactus) · C. delaetiana (Coryphantha) · C. delicata (Coryphantha) · C. difficilis (Coryphantha) · C. durangensis (Coryphantha) · C. durangensis cuencamensis (Coryphantha) · C. echinoidea (Coryphantha) · C. echinus (Prickly Beehive Cactus) · C. elephantidens (Elephant's Tooth) · C. elephantidens bumamma (Coryphantha) · C. elephantidens greenwoodii (Coryphantha) · C. elephantidens var. barciae (Coryphantha) · C. erecta (Mexican Pincushion Cactus) · C. georgii (Coryphantha) · C. glanduligera (Coryphantha) · C. glassii (Coryphantha) · C. gracilis (Coryphantha) · C. hintoniorum (Coryphantha) · C. hintoniorum geoffreyi (Coryphantha) · C. jalpanensis (Coryphantha) · C. kracikii (Coryphantha) · C. longicornis (Biznaga De Pi) · C. macromeris (Nipple Beehive Cactus) · C. macromeris var. macromeris (Nipple Beehive Cactus) · C. macromeris var. runyonii (Runyon's Beehive Cactus) · C. maiz-tablasensis (Coryphantha) · C. neglecta (Coryphantha) · C. nickelsiae (Nickels's Pincushion Cactus) · C. octacantha (Coryphantha) · C. odorata (Coryphantha) · C. ottonis (Indian Head) · C. pallida (Coryphantha) · C. pallida pseudoradians (Coryphantha) · C. poselgeriana (Needle Mulee) · C. poselgeriana var. valida (Coryphantha) · C. potosiana (Coryphantha) · C. pseudoechinus (Coryphantha) · C. pseudonickelsiae (Coryphantha) · C. pulleineana (Coryphantha) · C. pycnacantha (Coryphantha) · C. pycnacantha reduncispina (Coryphantha) · C. ramillosa (Big Bend Cory Cactus) · C. ramillosa ramillosa (Bunched Cory Cactus) · C. ramillosa santiagensis (Coryphantha) · C. recurvata (Golden-Chested Beehive Cactus) · C. recurvata recurvata (Golden Chested Beehive Cactus) · C. retusa (Coryphantha) · C. retusa var. melleospina (Coryphantha) · C. robustispina robustispina (Pima Pineapple Cactus) · C. robustispina scheeri (Longtubercle Beehive Cactus) · C. salinensis (Coryphantha) · C. scheeri (Beehive Coryphantha) · C. scheeri var. scheeri (Scheer's Beehive Cactus) · C. scheeri var. uncinata (Scheer's Beehive Cactus) · C. scheeri var. valida (Scheer's Beehive Cactus) · C. scolymoides (Coryphantha) · C. sneedii (Sneed Pincushion Cactus) · C. sulcata (Finger Cactus) · C. sulcata var. sulcata (Pineapple Cactus) · C. tripugionacantha (Coryphantha) · C. vaupeliana (Coryphantha) · C. vogtherriana (Coryphantha) · C. werdermannii (Jibali Pincushion Cactus) · C. wohlschlageri (Coryphantha)
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- Succulent plants in trade from the wild: analysis of conservation status and international trade UK Dept of the Environment, Transport and Regions url p. 127, p. 97.
- .Li Zhenyu. 1999. Cactaceae. In: Ku Tsuechih, ed., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 52(1): 272-285.
- Taylor, N. P. 1983. Die Arten der Gattung Escobaria Britton et Rose: -5. Kakt. And. Sukk. 34: 76-79, 120-123, 136-140, 154-158, 184-188.
- Zimmerman, A. D. 1985. Systematics of the Genus Coryphantha (Cactaceae). Ph.D. dissertation. University of Texas.
- Brands, S.J. (comp.) 1989-present. The Taxonomicon. Universal Taxonomic Services, Zwaag, The Netherlands. Accessed January 11, 2012.
- Zhen-yu Li & Nigel P. Taylor "Cactaceae". in Flora of China Vol. 13 Page 209. Published by Science Press (Beijing) and Missouri Botanical Garden Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]
- Allan D. Zimmerman & Bruce D. Parfitt "Coryphantha". in Flora of North America Vol. 4 Page 94, 98, 99, 220. Oxford University Press. Online at EFloras.org. [back]