The remarkable group of cacti included in the genus Ariocarpus have an early history of nomenclatural confusion. About 1838, Henri Galeotti sent some peculiar cacti to Europe from Mexico, which came almost simultaneously into the possession of two botanists, each immediately recognizing them as representing a new genus. The first to publish was a relatively unknown Belgian botanist and horticulturist, Michel Scheidweiler, who in 1838 described Ariocarpus retusus. Scheidweiler included a drawing of the plant with his description, but not surprisingly, no type specimen was designated. The name Ariocarpus is from the Greek aria, a kind of oak, and carpos, fruit, perhaps referring to the indéhiscent fruit.
The other person to receive the plants from Galeotti was the well-known French botanist Charles Lemaire, a special ist on cacti. Unaware of Scheidweiler's earlier description, in 1839 Lemaire published a different binomial for the same plant, Anhalonium prismaticum. However, Lemaire learned of Scheidweiler's description while his book was still in press. Hastily, Lemaire added a sharp epilogus criticus at the end of his book, strongly criticizing Scheidweiler and the name he had published, basing his criticism on the belief that Scheidweiler had incorrectly interpreted many of the plant's characters (which, it turns out, he had not). Because of Lemaire's reputation as a great authority on cacti, Scheidweiler's earlier publication was ignored and the plant became widely known as Anhalonium. Ariocarpus began to be accepted about 1900 with the institution of the rule of priority of publication in the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.
The wide acceptance of the name Anhalonium for this cactus also led to confusion with another significant cactus: peyote. First described as an Echinocactus, peyote was transferred to Anhalonium late in the nineteenth century, a name that was widely used for this ethnobotanically important plant until it was finally placed in its own genus, Lophophora.
In 1925 Alwin Berger separated those species of Ariocarpus having an areolar furrow on the upper surface of the tubercle and described the genus Roseocactus for them. Subsequent studies (Anderson 1960,1962,1963) show that many similar characters, as well as transitional forms of an areolar groove and a distinct spiniferous pad, do not support separating those species as Berger proposed.
Marcello Castañeda (1941), a Mexican engineer, discovered a small, unusual cactus in Tamaulipas and described it as Neogomesia agavoides, believing it to be distinct from all other cacti, but my studies (Anderson 1962) show it to be an Ariocarpus. Additional articles on Ariocarpus are by Anderson (1960-1965), Hunt (1991c), and Anderson and Fitz Maurice (1997).
All six species of Ariocarpus (type, A. retusus) flower in fall. Ariocarpus is one of the most popular cacti in horticulture though very slow growing. All have been extensively, illegally collected, and some are known from only one or very few localities. All have an extensive internal mucilage system; Native Americans use this mucilage as glue to mend broken pottery.
Ariocarpus Scheidweiler 1838 Anhalonium Lemaire 1839 Roseocactus A. Berger 1925 Neogomesia Castañeda 1941
Subfamily Cactoideae, tribe Cacteae. Plants solitary or forming clumps, small, geophytic. Taproots large, fleshy, with an extensive mucilage system. Stems compact, consisting of tubercles that in some
'ma roseana species appear leaflike. Ribs absent. Spineless. Areoles varying in their occurrence on the tubercles, as woolly grooves on the uppersur-face, as round pads nearthe tips, or absent. Spines absent except in seedlings (occasionally present on mature tubercles of Ariocarpus agavoides). Flowers borne at the woolly bases of young tubercles in the apex, open duringthe day, funnelform, varying in colorfrom white to yellow to magenta; pericarpels naked. Fruits club shaped to nearly spherical, fleshy at first, drying at maturity, indehiscent, naked. Seeds black, pearshaped, tuberculate. Distribution: northern Mexico asfar south Querétaro, and west Texas, mostly in the Chihuahuan Desert.
Ariocarpus agavoides (Castañeda) E. F. Anderson 1962
tamaulipas living rock cactus
Neogomesia agavoides Castañeda 1941, Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus subsp. agavoides (Castañeda) Halda 1998
Plants dark green to brownish, nearly buried beneath the ground, 3-8 cm (1.2-3.1 in) in diameter. Tubercles projecting from the stem base, diverging, elongated, 2-4 cm (0.81.6 in) long, 0.5-1 cm (0.2-0.4 in) wide. Areoles near tubercle tips, occasionally with small spines. Flowers magenta, 3.5-4.5 cm (1.4-1.8 in) in diameter. Fruits round to elongate, pinkish red to reddish purple, becoming brown at maturity, 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) long. Distribution: a few limestone areas in Tamaulipas and San Luis Potosí, Mexico. Ariocarpus agavoides is listed in Appendix I of cites and is rare primarily as a result of collection from the wild.
Ariocarpus bravoanus H. M. Hernández & E. F. Anderson 1992
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus subsp. bravoanus (H. M. Hernández &
E. F. Anderson) Halda 1998 Ariocarpus ft's suratus var. hintonii W. Stuppy & N. P. Taylor 1987, A. bravoanus subsp. hintonii (W. Stuppy & N. P. Taylor) E. F. Anderson
& W. A. Fitz Maurice 1997, A. fissuratus subsp. hintonii (W. Stuppy & N.P.Taylor) Halda 1998
Plants small, gray-green, almost level with the ground, 3-9 cm (1.2-3.5 in) in diameter. Tubercles flattened, triangular, more or less pointed apically, projecting only slightly from the stem base. Areoles variable, sometimes woolly furrows the length of the tubercles, other times as woolly pads near tubercle tips. Flowers magenta, 4-5 cm (1.6-2 in) in diameter. Fruits rarely seen, usually light brown in color. Distribution: a few localities on limestone soil in San Luis Potosí, Mexico.
Ariocarpus bravoanus is rare and is listed in Appendix I of cites. Two subspecies are recognized. Subspecies bravoanus, restricted to southern San Luis Potosí, is most easily distinguished from subspecies hintonii, restricted to northern San Luis Potosí, because the latter has tubercles with well-defined areolar grooves and lateral tubercular furrows. Liquid from subspecies hintonii is used medicinally (Chapter 2, under Cacti as Medicine).
Ariocarpus fissuratus (Engelmann) K. Schumann 1894
chaute, chautle, false peyote, living rock, peyote cimarrón, star rock, sunami, wanamé
Mammillaria fissurata Engelmann 1856, Anhalonium fissuratum (Engelmann) Engelmann 1859, Roseocactus fissuratus (Engelmann) A. Berger 1925 Anhalonium engelmannii Lemaire 1868 Ariocarpus lloydii Rose 1911, Roseocactus lloydii (Rose) A. Berger
1925, A. fissuratus var. lloydii (Rose) W. T. Marshall 1941 Roseocactus intermedius Backeberg & Kilian 1960
Plants even with or rising slightly above ground level, gray-green, becoming yellowish with age, 5-15 cm (2-5.9 in) in diameter. Tubercles laterally divergent, crowded, flattened or
Ariocarpus agavoides slightly convex above, usually somewhat rounded apically, often with numerous fissures on the upper surface, 1-2 cm (0.4-0.8 in) long, 1.5-2.5 cm (0.6-1 in) broad. Areoles central woolly furrows extending the length of the tubercle. Flowers magenta, 2.5-4.5 cm (1-1.8 in) in diameter. Fruits rarely seen because buried in the central wool. Distribution: widespread, occurring in the Big Bend region to the Pecos River in Texas, south into Coahuila, Chihuahua, and Du-rango, Mexico. Ariocarpus fissuratus is listed in Appendix I of cites. The Tarahumara use the cactus ceremonially though it is not known to contain psychoactive alkaloids (Chapter 2, under Cacti as Medicine). Two varieties of A. fissuratus have been commonly recognized but the species displays a continuum of characteristics over its range, suggesting formal recognition of infraspecific taxa is not appropriate (Anderson and Fitz Maurice 1997).
Continue reading here: Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus Lemaire ex K Schumann
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