Habitats

Since many Coryphantha spp. are widely distributed, they are practically part of the "basic outfit" of certain floras. Some species, like C. cornifera or C. delicata occur in masses, while others like C. hinoniorum are very scattered over large areas. There are few habitats which are not settled by Coryphantha spp.: the highest mountainous regions with pine forests as well as naked rock walls and gypsum hills,but also steep and unstable ground where Coryphantha spp. as slow-growing plants can hardly establish themselves.

The classical habitat of a Coryphantha is the foot of a hill or a ridge of stony gravel with loose vegetation, or on lava with grass. There, the plants grow partly in the open or slightly to completely protected between or under bushes.

Some species grow in specialised habitats. Among them, C. macromeris and C. maiz-tablasensis, both group-forming plants which occur in sandy gypsum, usually dry, nearly bare lagoons only; or C. pseudechinus and C. durangensis, which form large clusters on quite steep slopes with rocks, and C. vau-peliana, which grows on gravel plains. C. poselgeriana, C. pycnacantha and C. hintonio-rum occur on flat plains only.

A special form of growth habit is shown by C. pulleineana which needs the proximity of a Hechtia or Agave to support the long, thin sprout.

It is not known yet how Coryphantha spp. settle in areas and how they came to be so widely distributed. Moreover, due to its green berry and the fact that, unlike certain Mam-millaria spp., they are never found on trees, birds as the main distributors of seeds can be excluded with great certainty.

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