Turbinicarpus (Turbinicarpus valdezianus)

Cultivated Turbinicarpus valdezianus flower
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Turbinicarpus fact file

Turbinicarpus description

GenusTurbinicarpus (1)

Turbinicarpus valdezianus is a dwarf, globular cactus with a stem completely divided into angled tubercles and obscured by dense spines. This species has 30 or more distinctive ‘radial’ spines, which are white and feathery and measure up to 0.2 centimetres in length. The radial spines spread out horizontally, forming small ‘umbrellas’ on the tips of the tubercles. Unlike some other species, Turbinicarpus valdezianus lacks central spines (2).

This cactus may be confused with other small cacti with dense, feathery spines, such as Mammillaria lasiacantha, Mammillaria theresae and Mammillaria sanchez-mejoradae. However, the flowers of Turbinicarpus valdezianus are positioned at the top of the stem, rather than on the sides as in Mammillaria species (2).

Diameter: up to 2.5 cm (2)

Turbinicarpus biology

Measuring around two centimetres in diameter, the flowers of Turbinicarpus valdezianus grow at the top of the stem and are white to magenta in colour, with a darker stripe down the middle of the petaloids. This species flowers in winter (4). The fruits of Turbinicarpus valdezianus are brownish, and open along a longitudinal slit from which the small black seeds are released (4).


Turbinicarpus range

Turbinicarpus valdezianus has a wide distribution in northern Mexico, where it can be found in the states of Coahuila, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí and Zacatecas (2).


Turbinicarpus habitat

Turbinicarpus valdezianus inhabits low limestone hills covered with desert vegetation, at elevations of around 1,100 to 2,000 metres (4) (5).


Turbinicarpus status

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

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable


Turbinicarpus threats

Turbinicarpus valdezianus has a widespread distribution with many known populations, and is not under immediate threat of extinction. However, some populations may be more affected by human activities than others. The type locality of this species was destroyed by the construction of the airport of Saltillo, and other populations in this area are threatened by the expansion of chicken farms. Illegal collection also contributes to the decline of this cactus (1).


Turbinicarpus conservation

Turbinicarpus valdezianus 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). Within Mexico, Turbinicarpus valdezianus is also subject to special protection (Pr) on the Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059 (6).


Find out more

To find out more about Turbinicarpus species see:



Information supplied and authenticated (20/12/2010) by Alessandro Mosco, PhD, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste.



A flower part which resembles a petal, but has a different origin.
In cacti, a conical or angular swelling upon the stem.
Type locality
The location from which the first described specimen of a species or subspecies came.


  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2010)
  2. Lüthy, J.M. (2001) The Cacti of CITES Appendix I.Bundesamt für Veterinärwesen, Bern.
  3. CITES (December, 2010)
  4. Anderson, E.F., Arias Montes, S. and Taylor, N.P. (1994) Threatened Cacti of Mexico. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  5. Sotomayor, M. del C.J.M., Arredondo Gómez, A., Sánchez Barra, F.R. and Martínez Méndez, M. (2004) The Genus Turbinicarpus in San Luis Potosí. Cactus & Co., Tradate (VA), Italy.
  6. Norma Oficial Mexicana NOM-059 (December, 2010)

Image credit

Cultivated Turbinicarpus valdezianus flower  
Cultivated Turbinicarpus valdezianus flower

© Jürgen Hüser

Jürgen Hüser


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