Echinocactus glaucescens De Candolle, Mem. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 17: 115. 1828.
Echinocactuspfeifferi Zuccarini in Pfeiffer, Enum. Cact. 58. 1837.
Echinofossulocactuspfeifferi Lawrence in Loudon, Gard. Mag. 17: 318. 1841.
Globular, 2 to 4 dm. in diameter, or a little higher than broad, glaucous; ribs is to 15, somewhat flattened, acute, 2 to 3 cm. high; areoles 8 to 52 mm. apart, oblong, 52 to 20 cm. long, yellowish, tomentose when young; radial spines 6, nearly equal, rigid, only slightly spreading, straight, 2.5 to 3 cm. long, pale yellow at first, when old blackish, more or less banded; central spine solitary, similar to the radials; flowers yellow, 2 cm. long, perhaps broader when fully expanded; outer perianth-segments ovate, acuminate, sometimes brownish on the back, ciliate on the margins; inner perianth-segments oblong, usually only acute, somewhat toothed or lacerate; stigma-lobes slender, cream-colored; scales on the ovary brownish, ovate, acute, ciliate on the margins, imbricate.
Type locality: Toliman, Mexico.
Distribution: Eastern central Mexico.
Our knowledge of this species is drawn not only from illustrations and published descriptions but also from a plant obtained by Dr. Rose from Hidalgo, Mexico, in 1915, which has since been grown in the cactus house of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, but has never flowered. Dr. Rose, however, found it in flower at La Mortola, Italy, in 1952, and a few flowers were obtained.
Schumann thought that Echinocactus dietrichianus Förster (Hamb. Gartenz. 17: 160. 1861) was probably referable to E. pfeifferi.
Schumann refers here E. theionacanthus Lemaire (Cact. Aliq. Nov. 22. 1838) and E. thei-acanthus Lemaire (Cact. Gen. Nov. Sp. 86. 1839) but he has the names interchanged. The latter seems to have been based on E. mammilifer Miquel (Linnaea 12: 8. 1838), a name
which Schumann listed among his unknown species. Hemsley (Biol. Centr. Amer. Bot. 1: 536. 1880) refers here E. mammillarioides Hooker, a different plant, native of Chile. Although there are some slight differences in the descriptions it is not at all unlikely that these last two species had a common origin, the names being similar and published about the same time. It is almost certain that all four names should be excluded from this species. For a description of E. mammillarioides see Malacocarpus page 203.
Illustrations: Pfeiffer, Abbild. Beschr. Cact. 2: pl. 2; Abh. Bayer. Akad. Wiss. München 2: (see p. 739) pl. 3, f. 6; (see p. 740) pl. 5, sec. 1, f. 1 to 5, as Echinocactus pfeifferi.
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