Turbinicarpus (Turbinicarpus beguinii ssp. zaragozae)

Cultivated Turbinicarpus beguinii ssp. zaragozae
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Turbinicarpus fact file

Turbinicarpus description

GenusTurbinicarpus (1)

Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae is a small cactus with an almost cylindrical stem connected to a thickened root by a short neck. The stem is divided into green tubercles which have slightly elongated areoles. The areoles of Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae bear 20 to 25 ‘radial’ spines, which are needle-like, glassy white with brown tips, and measure up to 0.6 centimetres in length. There are also two to three additional spines on the upper portion of the areole, which are ascending and bristle-like, and measure up to two centimetres in length (4) (5).

This cactus also has 2 central spines, which are needle-like in shape and measure 1 to 1.7 centimetres in length. The central spines have white bases and brown to black tips (4) (5).

Turbinicarpus zaragosae, Turbinicarpus zaragozae.
Diameter: up to 4 cm (2)

Turbinicarpus biology

The flowers of Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae are borne at the centre of the top of the stem, and do not fully open. The flowers have a diameter of about 1.5 centimetres, and are yellowish to brownish in colour. The fruits of this species are dark green to brown, and open along a longitudinal slit from which the small black seeds are released (4) (5).

Seedlings of Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae are characterised by their elongated growth, and by feathery radial spines which later lose their feathery appearance (4) (5).


Turbinicarpus range

Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae is endemic to the Mexican state of Nuevo León, in the municipality of Zaragoza, where it is known from about 10 localities scattered over a range of 25 square kilometres (1).


Turbinicarpus habitat

Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae grows at an altitude of about 1,400 metres, on steep gypsum slopes (6).


Turbinicarpus status

Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae is classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1) and is listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Turbinicarpus threats

This species is known only from a restricted area, and its population is estimated at fewer than 10,000 individual plants. Threats to Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae include illegal collection, as well as trampling and overgrazing by goats, which leads to soil erosion and the consequent loss of habitat (1).

In addition, the construction of a road through the area in which Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae occurs may also have had an impact on its population (1).


Turbinicarpus conservation

Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae is listed on Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which includes species threatened with extinction, which are or may be affected by trade. Trade in this species should be subject to particularly strict regulation in order not to further endanger its survival, and must only be authorised in exceptional circumstances(3).

Within Mexico, Turbinicarpus beguinii spp. zaragozae is subject to special protection (Pr) on the Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059 (7).


Find out more

To find out more about Turbinicarpus species, see:



Information supplied and authenticated (26/03/2012) by Alessandro Mosco, PhD, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste.



In cacti, the felted or woolly, cushion-like structures from which spines grow, flowers develop and new stems arise.
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
In cacti, a conical or angular swelling upon the stem.


  1. IUCN Red List (March, 2012)
  2. Glass, C.E. (1998) Identification Guide to Threatened Cacti of Mexico. CANTE, Mexico.
  3. CITES (March, 2012)
  4. Lüthy, J.M. (2001) The Cacti of CITES Appendix I. Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen, Bern.
  5. Donati, D. and Zanovello, C. (2005) Knowing, Understanding and Growing Turbinicarpus-Rapicactus. Cactus Trentino Südtirol, Trento.
  6. Anderson, E.F., Arias Montes, S. and Taylor, N.P. (1994) Threatened Cacti of Mexico. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  7. Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059 (May, 2012)

Image credit

Cultivated Turbinicarpus beguinii ssp. zaragozae  
Cultivated Turbinicarpus beguinii ssp. zaragozae

© Alessandro Mosco

Alessandro Mosco


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