IA Section Lepidocoryphantha Backeberg Moran

Gentes Herb. 8(4): 318,1953 Basionym: Lepidocoryphantha Backeberg, Blätter Kakteenforschung 6: 18, 1938 (pro gen.)

Type: Coryphantha macromeris (Engelmann) Lemaire.

Synonyms: Coryphantha series Macromeres Britton & Rose, Cactaceae 4: 24,1923.

Definition: Areoles Macromeris type (ZIMMERMAN 1985, p. 61): Plants flowering only after attainment of maximum length areolar grooves, which extend only about halfway to the axils. Margins of outer perianth segments fimbriate. Ovary and fruits with few single scales. Cortex mucilaginous.

1 a. Coryphantha macromeris subsp.

macromeris (Engelmann) Lemaire Cactées 35,1868

Basionym: Mammillaria macromeris Engelmann in Wislizenus, Mem. Tour. North. Mex. 97,1848.

Lectotype: USA, New Mexico, Donana, 9 May 1846, Wislizenus s.n. (MO); Benson, Cacti US & Canada 959,1982.

Synonyms: Echinocactus macromeris (Engelmann) Poselger, Allg.Gartenz.21: 102, 1853; Cactus macromeris (Engelmann) Kuntze, Rev. Gen. Pl.1: 260, 1891; Lepidocoryphantha macromeris (Engelmann) Backeberg, Cac-taceae, Jahrb. DKG 1941 (2): 61, 1942; Mammillaria heteromorpha Scheer ex Salm-Dyck, Cact. Hort. Dyck. 1849: 128, 1850; Echinocactus heteromorphus (Scheer ex Salm-Dyck) Poselger, Allg. Gartenz. 21: 126, 1853; Cactus heteromorphus (Scheer ex Salm-Dyck) Kuntze, Rev. Gen. Pl. 1: 260, 1891; Mammil-laria dactylithele Labouret, Monogr. Cact. 146,1853.

Body caespitose, pale-green, globose to short-cylindrical, up to 10-15 cm high and 5 cm diameter, forming large groups up to 50 cm diameter and 20 cm high. Root sprouting in the upper part, terminating in a taproot. Tubercles in 5 and 8 series, loosely arranged, conical, rounded, tapering towards the apex, at the base 18 mm wide, 11 mm high, length of upper surface 13-20 mm, of lower surface 17-30 mm, groove never on the whole areole length, extending from the spiniferous areole to the midpoint of the upper surface only or shorter, woolly, often with one or several red glands, one of them at the inner end of the groove. Areoles round, 3-4 mm diameter, with white felt. Radial spines 9-15, irregularly arranged and protruding, straight or slightly curved, needle-like, 15-28 mm long, the shortest ones below, dark to light grey, in new growth also reddish-brown. Central spines 3-6, irregularly porrect, straight or slightly curved, robust, needle-like, 25-50 mm long, light to dark red-brown, later becoming grey from the base. Flowers 3-6 cm in length and diameter, floral tube green with some small scales; outer perianth segments broad lanceolate, acute, dentate towards the tips, fimbriate, 25 mm long, 6 mm wide, purple or light rose with purple-brown central midstripe; inner perianth segments broad lanceolate, acute, dentate towards the tips, margins entire, 30 mm long and 6-9 mm wide, purple or light rose-coloured with darker midstripe, filaments purple-red or rose to nearly white, anthers yellow, stigma yellowish, lobes 7-8, yellowish-white. Fruit green juicy berry, 16-25 mm long, 6-9 mm in diameter, with a few small fimbriate scales. Seeds reniform, 1.2 mm wide, up to 1.8 mm long, hazel-brown, testa reticulate.

Distribution: USA: south of New Mexico and Texas, along the Rio Grande. Mexico: in the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila and San Luis Potosí.

Habitat: Sandy alluvial plains in open ground or under bushes, 750-1500 m above sea level. Locations checked: USA: Texas: Big Bend National Park, Presidio County. New Mexico: Doña Ana County, Eddy County. Mexico: Coahuila: Hipolito, Monclova, Laguna de Meyran, San Juan de Boquillas, Cuatrociene-gas, Benito Juarez, Monterrey-Monclova km 40, Ocampo. Chihuahua: El Sueco, Cuauhtemoc. San Luis Potosí: Villa de Ramos. Incidence: Least concern. Illustrations: Distribution see Plate 9, map 1; plant portrait see Plate 14, photos 1 and 3.

1 b. Coryphantha macromeris subsp.

runyonii (Britton & Rose) N.P. Taylor Cact. Cons. Init. (6): 15,1998. Basionym: Coryphantha runyonii Britton & Rose, Cact. 4: 26,1923.

Lectotype: USA, Texas, Rio Grande (City), 10 Aug. 1921, Runyon s.n. (US; NY, dupl.). (Benson, Cact. Suc.J.(US) 41: 188,1969) Synonyms: Mammillaria runyonii (Britton & Rose) Cory, Rhodora 38: 407,1936; Lepidoco-ryphantha runyonii (Britton & Rose) Backeberg, Cactaceae 5: 2975, 1961; Coryphantha macromeris var. runyonii (Britton & Rose) Benson, Cact. Succ. J. (US) 41: 188,1969; Lepi-docoryphantha macromeris ssp. runyonii (Britton & Rose) Doweld, Sukkulenty 1999 (1): 28, 1999; Coryphantha pirtlei Werdermann, Notizbl. Bot. Gart. Berlin-Dahlem 12: 226,1934.

Body caespitose, remaining small, maximum size about half that of ssp. macromeris, sprouting, forming low clumps of up to 50 cm diameter, greyish-green, with taproot. Tubercles loosely arranged, conical, rounded, at the base 11 mm wide, halfway up 5 mm, 10-15 mm long, groove never on the whole areole length, in the areolar half only. Areoles round, 1-2 mm diameter, with white woolly felt. Radial spines 6-9, irregularly disposed and protruding, straight or curved, 7-20 mm long, shortest ones below, thin needle-like, yellowish-white, some brownish. Central spines 1-2, rarely 3, up to 25 mm long, por-rect, slightly curved, needle-like, red-brown to dark-brown. Flowers, fruits and seeds like ssp. macromeris.

Distribution: along the lower river-course of the Rio Grande, at sealevel, between Brownsville and Rio Grande City (Texas) and parallel on the opposite river side in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Habitat: Sandy alluvial soils. Locations checked: USA: Texas: Jim Hogg County.

Incidence: Least concern. Collected due to its high content of psychoactive alcaloids.

Comments: ssp. runyonii is about half the size of ssp. macromeris in all measurements and grows in an isolated area at the lower course of the Rio Grande on sealevel.

Both species and subspecies show some characteristics which are unique within the genus Coryphantha:

• tubercle grooves extend only from near the spiniferous areole to about the mid-point of the upper surface, never reaching the axil (Macromeris areole type)

• the outer perianth segments are fimbriate

• ovary and fruits with few single scales

These features led BACKEBERG (1938) to form a new genus Lepidocoryphantha for the series Macromeres of Britton & Rose. BUX-BAUM (in KRAINZ 1959) removed this genus and placed the Macromeres within Coryphan-tha.

With the characteristics mentioned above, the Macromeres prove to be the oldest stage within the genus Coryphantha. Since other Coryphantha species also have fimbriate outer perianth segments (e.g. Coryphantha robustispina ssp. scheeri) and fruits/ovaries with few single scales (e.g. Coryphantha clavata ), treatment as an independent subgenus is not justifiable, however, the presence of a unique areole type permits the separation into an independent section. Illustrations: Distribution see Plate 9, map 1; plant portrait see Plate 14, photo 2.

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