Coryphantha (from Greek, "flowering on the top"), or beehive cactus, is a genus of small to middle-sized, globose or columnar cacti. The genus is native to arid parts of Central America, Mexico, through Arizona, New Mexico, and western Texas and north into southwestern, central, and southeastern Montana. With its two subgenera, 57 species and 20 subspecies, it is one of the largest genera of cactus.
There are four characteristics that distinguish Coryphantha from other cacti.
- Their bodies do not have ribs, just tubercles.
- The flowers form at the top of the plant (the apex or growing end of the stem).
- The tip (podarium) of each flowering tubercle has three parts, the spiny areole, the groove and the axil. Without the groove it is not a Coryphantha.
- The seed coat (or testa) has a net-like pattern (reticulate).
More than many other cacti, the Coryphantha change in their appearance over their lifespan. The presence or absence of a central spine is not indicative of the genus, even in fully adult plants.
The name Coryphantha was first applied by George Engelmann in 1856 as a subgenus, the earlier name Aulacothele of Lemaire having been abandoned. In 1868 Lemaire promoted the group to genus level. Before this all Coryphantha had been classified as Mammillaria.
The genus has two vaild synonyms:
and three invalid ones:
- Aulacothele Monv. (nom. inval.)
- Glandulifera (Salm-Dyck) Fric (nom. inval.)
- Roseia Fric (nom. inval.)
A number of Coryphantha have previously been classified in other genera, indeed the type species C. sulcata was originally named Mammillaria sulcata Other examples include Echinocactus salinensis Poselger 1853 now Coryphantha salinensis (Poselger) Dicht and A.Lüthy 1998 and Neolloydia pulleineana Blackberg 1948 now Coryphantha pulleineana (Blackberg) Glass 1968.
Similarly, a number of other species have been previously classified as Coryphantha. For example, Escobaria vivipara was called Coryphantha vivipara.
- Mammillaria - a closely related cactus genus
- Dicht, Reto F. and Lüthy, Adrian D. (2005) Coryphantha: Cacti of Mexico and Southern USA. Springer, Berlin, p. 1, ISBN 3-540-22306-1
- Dicht, Reto F. and Lüthy, Adrian D. (2005) "3.2 Tubercles" Coryphantha: Cacti of Mexico and Southern USA. Springer, Berlin, pp. 9–12, ISBN 3-540-22306-1
- Dicht, Reto F. and Lüthy, Adrian D. (2005) "3.7 Seeds" Coryphantha: Cacti of Mexico and Southern USA. Springer, Berlin, p. 17-20, ISBN 3-540-22306-1
- Dicht, Reto F. and Lüthy, Adrian D. (2005) Coryphantha: Cacti of Mexico and Southern USA. Springer, Berlin, p. 2, ISBN 3-540-22306-1
- Anderson, Edward F. (2001) "Coryphantha" The Cactus Family. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon, p. 186, ISBN 0-88192-498-9
- Dicht, Reto F. and Lüthy, Adrian D. (2005) Coryphantha: Cacti of Mexico and Southern USA. Springer, Berlin, p. 23, ISBN 3-540-22306-1
- Britton, Nathaniel Lord and Brown, Addison (1913) An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British possessions, from Newfoundland to the parallel of the southern boundary of Virginia, and from the Atlantic Ocean westward to the 102d meridian (2nd edition) Scribner, New York, pp. 1–3, OCLC 852525
- Dicht, Reto F. and Lüthy, Adrian D. (1998) "Im Feld wiederaufgefunden: Coryphantha salinensis (Poselger) Kakteen und andere Sukkulenten 49(11): pp. 256ff., in German
- Glass, Charles (1968) "Cactaceas Mexicanas Poco conocidas" Cactaceas y Suculentas Mexicanas 2: pp. 34ff., in Spanish
- Hunt, David R. and Benson, Lyman (1976) "The lectotype of Coryphantha". Cactus and Succulent Journal (U.S.) 48: pp. 72ff.
- USDA Plants Profile for Coryphantha (beehive cactus)
- USDA Plants Profile: gallery of Coryphantha images
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