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Blossfeldia liliputana1MW.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Genus: Blossfeldia
B. liliputiana
Binomial name
Blossfeldia liliputiana
  • Blossfeldia atroviridis F.Ritter
  • Blossfeldia campaniflora Backeb. nom. inval.
  • Blossfeldia cryptocarpa (R.Kiesling & Piltz) Halda
  • Blossfeldia fechseri Backeb. nom. inval.
  • Blossfeldia minima F.Ritter
  • Blossfeldia pedicellata F.Ritter
  • Parodia liliputana (Werderm.) N.P. Taylor

Blossfeldia is a genus of cactus (family Cactaceae) containing only one species, Blossfeldia liliputiana,[1] native to South America in northwestern Argentina[2] (Jujuy[3], Salta, Tucumán, Catamarca and Mendoza Provinces)[4] and southern Bolivia[2] (Santa Cruz and Potosí Departments)[4]. It grows at 1,200–3,500 m altitude in the Andes, typically growing in rock crevices,[2] and often close to waterfalls.[citation needed]

It is of note as the smallest cactus species in the world, with a mature size of around 10–12 mm diameter. The flowers are white or rarely pink, 6–15 mm long and 5–7 mm diameter.[2]

The genus Blossfeldia has been divided into many separate species; however most morphological evidence supports that the genus is monotypic, and contains only Blossfeldia liliputiana.[5]

The species is named after the fictional country of Lilliput, where all of the inhabitants are minute.


The genus and species were first described in 1937 by Erich Werdermann after being discovered in northern Argentina by Harry Blossfeld and Oreste Marsoner.[3] The genus name honours Blossfeld.[2] Blossfeldia liliputiana has several features making it unique among cacti, including a very small number of stomata, the absence of a thickened cuticle, and hairy seeds with an aril. It is placed in the subfamily Cactoideae, and traditionally in the tribe Notocacteae.[2] However, molecular phylogenetic studies have repeatedly shown that it is sister to the remaining members of the subfamily, and well removed from other genera placed in the Notocacteae:[6][7]

subfamily Cactoideae


tribe Cacteae

core Cactoideae, including traditional members of tribe Notocacteae

Recognizing the position of Blossfeldia, Nyffeler and Eggli in their 2010 classification of Cactaceae placed it in a separate tribe, Blossfeldieae, within Cactoideae.[8] Earlier, Blossfeldia considered as a distinct genus of tribe Notocacteae [2] or even had been placed in an entirely separate subfamily, Blossfeldioideae.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Blossfeldia liliputana Werderm". The Plant List. Retrieved 2017-04-01.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Anderson, Edward F. (2001). The Cactus Family. Pentland, Oregon: Timber Press. pp. 129–130. ISBN 978-0-88192-498-5.
  3. ^ a b Werdermann, Von E. (1937). "Aus den Sammelergebnissen der Reisen von H. Bloßfeld und O. Marsoner durch Südamerika III" (PDF). Kakteenkunde. 11: 161–163.
  4. ^ a b Leuenberger, Beat Ernst (2008). "Pereskia, Maihuenia, and Blossfeldia—Taxonomic History, Updates, and Notes". Haseltonia. 14: 54–93. doi:10.2985/1070-0048-14.1.54.
  5. ^ "Blossfeldia liliputana". Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  6. ^ Bárcenas, Rolando T; Yesson, Chris & Hawkins, Julie A (2011). "Molecular systematics of the Cactaceae". Cladistics. 27 (5): 470–489. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2011.00350.x.
  7. ^ Hernández-Hernández, Tania; Hernández, Héctor M.; De-Nova, J. Arturo; Puente, Raul; Eguiarte, Luis E. & Magallón, Susana (2011). "Phylogenetic relationships and evolution of growth form in Cactaceae (Caryophyllales, Eudicotyledoneae)". American Journal of Botany. 98 (1): 44–61. doi:10.3732/ajb.1000129. PMID 21613084.
  8. ^ Nyffeler, R. & Eggli, U. (2010). "A farewell to dated ideas and concepts: molecular phylogenetics and a revised suprageneric classification of the family Cactaceae". Schumannia. 6: 109–149. doi:10.5167/uzh-43285.
  9. ^ Crozier, B.S. (2004). "Subfamilies of Cactaceae Juss., including Blossfeldioideae subfam. nov". Phytologia. 86: 52–64. Retrieved 2017-04-01.


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