DixPix Photographs

     

SOUTH CORDILLERA

 
     
  Flora: CACTI-- SMALL  

 

There seems to be three centers of diversity for CACTACEAE, the Cactus Family. One includes Mexico and adjacent territories, one holds out in northeastern Brazil and the third in the drier regions of the Southern Cordillera.  These populations have only a few genera in common.   In recent decades there have been many changes in cactus taxonomy, with frequent and ongoing shuffling of both genera and species.  Not all changes have met with universal agreement.  Of importance on this page, for example, the decision to fold the genera Neoporteria and Pyrrhocactus (among others) into Eriosyce appears to have met resistance from some quarters.

There are two books specifically on Cacti in the area of concern, one being Cactaceas en the Flora Silvestre de Chile, by Adriana Hoffmann and Helmut Walter ( 2nd edition, 2004).  The other is 100 Cactus Argentinos by Roberto Kiesling and Omar Ferrari; Instituto de Botanico Darwin, 2005.  The web site of Desert Tropicals has also proved helpful.

In view of the widespread appeal of Cacti and of the difficulties in assigning names, an unusually high portion of the photos in this sector were taken in botanical gardens.  Abbreviations which will be used in acknowledgements are as follows:  DBG- Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix; KEW Botanical Gardens, London; QPG- Quail (now San Diego) Botanical Gardens, Encinitas, California; UBBG- Botanical Gardens at the University of California, Berkeley; Chirau Mita- a cactus garden at Chilecito in La Rioja Province, Argentina.

This page treats genera containing cacti of more or less smaller stature.  The taller examples may be found under Cacti-- Large.  The page starts with species which tend to come festooned in white 'hairs'.  The term 'oldman cactus' usually refers to a Mexican case, but  the habit is more common among cacti of the Southern Cordillera, where several genera have produced species with this style.

 

Morawetzia sericata at UBBG.  At time of writing the most likely name is now Oreocereus doelzianus, but stay tuned.  A Peruvian. Click to see big picture (640x416 pixels; 108 KB)
And here is another version of Oreocereus doelzianus form Lotusland in Montecitio, California, complete with fruit.  Still attributed to Peru.
Also at UBBG, Borzicactus hendricksenianus, at the moment likely Oreocereus leucotrichus.  Its home turf is Peru and northern Chile. Click to see big picture (329x480 pixels; 64 KB)
Another yellow-spined fuzz-ball, likely the Old Man of the Mountain, Oreocereus trollii from high in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia. Click to see big picture (640x424 pixels; 98 KB)
Another white haired species is Espostoa huanucoensis.  This is native mainly to Peru, but is here at Lotusland in Montecito, California.
Haageocereus versicolor is an unusual cactus, which is at home in the coastal drylands of northern Peru.   Once again, from Lotusland.

 

From DBG, Oreocereus celsianus,  referred to as the Old Man of the Andes with a range encompassing Peru, Bolivia and northwest Argentina. Click to see big picture (364x480 pixels; 79 KB)
Meanwhile, at Lotusland (Montecito, Calif.) this is described as Oreocereus celsianus celsianus.  It seems that we old men of the Andes have a choice.
Cleistocactus strausii or Silver Torch at UBBG.  This is not a genera of small cacti, but included here to be with the other 'white-hairs'.  Bolivia and adjacent Andes of Argentina. Click to see big picture (391x480 pixels; 84 KB)
The Oldman of Peru, Espostoa lanata approx. Click to see big picture (455x480 pixels; 127 KB)
Also from Peru in the Conococha area of the Altiplano, large patches of a fleecy-looking mat.  This is likely one of the varieties of what some call Tephrocactus floccosus, but is more often addressed as Austrocylindropuntia floccosa. Click to see big picture (568x480 pixels; 127 KB)
A closer look at the flower of T. (or A.) floccosus, not to mention the copious spines.  There seems to be several varieties of this unusual species, most with lighter colored flowers. Click to see big picture (507x480 pixels; 135 KB)
A "golf ball cactus", Tephrocactus articulatus, from the lower elevations of La Rioja Province, Argentina.  Sometime referred to as Paperspine Cactus in gardening circles.  This variety with spines is apparently called oligacanthus. Click to see big picture (456x480 pixels; 131 KB)
While the variety without spines goes by the name T. articulatus var. articulatus.  The round sections come off easily and roll away to seed new plants. Click to see big picture (640x427 pixels; 121 KB)
Also from west-central Argentina, Tephrocactus aoracanthus, approx. Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 110 KB)
Recumbent and areola-studded, this is Tephrocactus molinensis of northwestern Argentina.  KEW Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 124 KB)
Lobivia wegheiana at UBBG.  "Lobivia" is an anagram for Bolivia, and the home range is Bolivia and southern Peru.  Apparently also called Echinopsis pentlandii. Click to see big picture (381x480 pixels; 96 KB)
Lobivia caespitosa, alias Echinopsis maximiliana.  Again from Bolivia and southern Peru, but taken at UBBG. Click to see big picture (596x480 pixels; 155 KB)
Matucana (or Borzicactus) tuberculata at DBG.  There are said to be about 20 species of this genus in Peru. Click to see big picture (437x480 pixels; 101 KB)
An impressive floral display at UBBG of Rebutia heliosa, a high altitude species from the Bolivian altiplano. Click to see big picture (640x365 pixels; 87 KB)
From the same place, Rebutia hoffmannii, which also goes by R. fiebrigii and about 14 other aliases.  Home would be Bolivia and northwestern Argentina.
Also at UBBG, another high altitude Bolivian, Weingartia hediniana, which will come out as Rebutia neocumingii in some classifications and Weingartia neocumingii ssp. hediniana in others.  Your choice. Click to see big picture (561x480 pixels; 79 KB)
The widespread Gatitos, mats of small, very thorny nuggets.  Cumulopuntia sphaerica is one of the most common and widespread, but various species of Maihueniopsis look about the same.  Some are orange flowered. Click to see big picture (578x480 pixels; 121 KB)
And some are yellow flowered.  When not in bloom, these things are so unobvious, that it is not uncommon for people to sit on them.  When the thorns hook into something the 'nuggets' break free as a means of dispersal. Click to see big picture (613x480 pixels; 118 KB)
Typical Gatito mat, with red buds turning to orange or yellow flowers, then to small, tuna-like fruit which can break free. Click to see big picture (360x244 pixels; 64 KB)
This particularly fiercely defended 'gatito' hales from high in the Cordillera Chila of southern Peru.
A more obvious and vicious species is Cylindropuntia tunicata, known as Abrojo.  For some reason this was actually introduced from Mexico into northern Chile, where it is doing fine. Click to see big picture (619x480 pixels; 153 KB)
At least the ultra-thorny Ayrampu, Tunilla soehrensii has some red coloring as a warning.  This is a plant of the high Altiplano, growing to some 4000 meters altitude. Click to see big picture (640x453 pixels; 165 KB)
While on the subject of thorns, here is an unidentified Argentino with curved and erratic spines. Click to see big picture (640x465 pixels; 132 KB)
Turning now to the cold, dry climates of the Patagonian steppes.  These lovely red flowers are likely Pterocactus hickenii approx. Click to see big picture (624x480 pixels; 140 KB)
The broad thorns and orange flowers mark this as part of the Maiheniopsis darwinii complex.  Mat-forming cacti are sometimes referred to as Cola de Zorro in Patagonia, although they seem to have little similarity to a fox's tail. Click to see big picture (640x476 pixels; 134 KB)
An unusual coloring effect in the flowers of Austrocactus patagonicus approx. Click to see big picture (530x480 pixels; 115 KB)
A white flowered species from Rio Negro Province, seems to be Maihuenia patagonica.  The amount of central yellow varies. Click to see big picture (599x480 pixels; 147 KB)
And there are also pink flowered variations of Maihuenia patagonica. rose cactus
Bright yellow flowers among spiny noses, unidentified. Click to see big picture (640x473 pixels; 125 KB)
Introducing the 'barrel cacti' with Parodia comarapana at the KEW.  The native range for this species seems to center on southern Bolivia. Click to see big picture (465x480 pixels; 140 KB)
Parodia tuberculata at DBG.  This species is unusual in that it is said to have native populations in both Mexico and Bolivia. Click to see big picture (426x480 pixels; 113 KB)
Parodia compressa, now P. ocampoi, UBBG.  This seems to occur along the eastern edge of the northern Andes. Click to see big picture (456x480 pixels; 117 KB)
From the north-central coast of Chile at Los Molles, Eriosyce (or Pyrrhocactus) chilensis., sometimes called the Chilenito. Click to see big picture (499x480 pixels; 123 KB)
Another form of Eriosyce from the Combarbala area of Chile's Norte Chico. Some sources refer to these as the Neoporteria genus still. Click to see big picture (441x480 pixels; 107 KB)
Eriosyce (or Neoporteria) subgibbosa at UBBG.  There are several varieties of this species in north central to south-central Chile. Click to see big picture (525x480 pixels; 131 KB)
This is likely the cactus bearing the title Eriosyce subgibbosa subsp. subgibbosa, variety subgibbosa or something close thereto.  It brightens the Chilean coastline from Norte Chico well into the south, and is known simply as Cacto Rosado. Click to see big picture (624x480 pixels; 150 KB)
From the north-central coast near the town of Los Vilos, Chile. Click to see big picture (640x480 pixels; 137 KB)
Two more views of pink-flowered coastal species.  These may well be other varieties of Eriosyce (Neoporteria) subgibbosa. Click to see big picture (640x315 pixels; 98 KB)
This yellow-flowered, barrel-shaped cactus appears to be Lobivia formosa?.  Lobivia is an anagram for Bolivia, but this species is found mainly in the central Argentine Andes. Click to see big picture (390x480 pixels; 114 KB)
The classic 'Cannon-ball Cactus' (Copiapoa sp.), here on the coast in Pan de Azucar National Park, northern Chile. Click to see big picture (640x391 pixels; 146 KB)
Copiapoa krainziana, another form of cannon-ball dressed for the mountains of the Chilean Atacama, but hidding out at UBBG.
Copiapoa humilis is a variable species and likely a species complex.  It is found in the Atacama and Norte Chico of Chile where it is known as Humildito, here at UBBG.
The native range of Echinopsis hertrichiana is said to be limited in the vicinity of Cusco, Peru.  This is the color of the flower exterior as seen at Lotusland.
But the flower interior is a bright red, as seen in this specimen from UBBG.
And finally, Gymnocalycium oenanthemum (or G. tillianum) at Chirau Mita.  This is recorded from northern Chile and northwestern Argentina. Click to see big picture (550x480 pixels; 123 KB)