Turbinicarpus (Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus)

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Cultivated Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus flower
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Turbinicarpus fact file

Turbinicarpus description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderCaryophyllales
FamilyCactaceae
GenusTurbinicarpus (1)

Turbinicarpus subterraneus spp. booleanus is a small, globular cactus with a tuber-like root, connected to the stem by a slender, underground neck (3) (4). Only around a third of the main stem body grows above ground (3). The stem is covered with green tubercles, which bear elliptical areoles at their tips. The areoles in turn bear 18 to 20 need-like ‘radial’ spines, which are glassy-white in colour with brown to reddish tips, and up to 0.6 centimetres in length, and also bear two central spines, which measure around 1.2 to 1.8 centimetres in length, are cylindrical with tapering ends, and are almost entirely brown to black in colour (3) (4). Seedlings are characterised by their elongated growth form, and only later develop a globular stem above the slender subterranean neck (4).

Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus is sometimes considered a full species, Turbinicarpus booleanus, rather than a subspecies of Turbinicarpus subterraneus (3).

Synonyms
Turbinicarpus booleanus.
Size
Diameter: up to 5.5 cm (2) (3)
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Turbinicarpus biology

Measuring around two centimetres in diameter, the flowers of Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus are borne at the top of the stem, and are magenta in colour, with yellow anthers. The fruits are dark green to purple, and open along a longitudinal slit from which the small black seeds are released (3) (4).

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Turbinicarpus range

This cactus is endemic to the Mexican state of Nuevo León, where it is found in only two, relatively close locations (3) (4).

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Turbinicarpus habitat

Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus inhabits bare, exposed gypsum slopes in semi-desert, at elevations of around 1,860 metres (1) (3).

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Turbinicarpus status

Classified as Critically Endangered (CR) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix I of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Critically Endangered

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Turbinicarpus threats

This cactus is known from an area of just 5 square kilometres, and its population is estimated at fewer than 1,000 plants. The main threat to Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus is illegal collecting, a practice which is decreasing the number of individuals in the wild (1).

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Turbinicarpus conservation

Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus 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 cactus should be subject to particularly strict regulation in order not to further endanger its survival, and must only be authorized in exceptional circumstances (3).

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Find out more

To find out more about Turbinicarpus species see:

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Authentication

Information supplied and authenticated (20/10/2010) by Alessandro Mosco, PhD, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste.
http://www.thelocactus.cactus-mall.com/

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Glossary

Anther
Part of the stamen (the male reproductive organ of a flower) that produces pollen.
Areole
In cacti, the felted or woolly, cushion-like structures from which spines grow, flowers develop and new stems arise.
Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
Tuber
In plants, a thickened stem or root that acts as an underground storage organ.
Tubercle
In cacti, a conical or angular swelling upon the stem.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2010)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. Zachar, M. (2004) The Genus Turbinicarpus. Vydavatel’stvo Igor Drab & Spolocnost’ Cactaceae etc., Bratislava.
  3. Hinton, G.S. (1996) Turbinicarpus booleanus (Cactaceae), a new species from Nuevo Leon, Mexico. Phytologia, 80(1): 62-66.
  4. CITES (August, 2010)
    http://www.cites.org/
  5. Lüthy, J.M. (2001) The Cacti of CITES Appendix I. Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen, Bern.
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Image credit

Cultivated Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus flower  
Cultivated Turbinicarpus subterraneus ssp. booleanus flower

© Alessandro Mosco

Alessandro Mosco
webmaster@thelocactus.cactus-mall.com
http://www.thelocactus.cactus-mall.com/

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